National Anti-vivisection Society


National Antivisection Society

Commissioner confirms intention to maintain EU cosmetics marketing ban

Posted: 15 February 2013

As the March 11th deadline approaches for the implementation of the EU marketing ban on cosmetics which have been tested on animals, the NAVS contacted the EU Health Commissioner to get confirmation regarding his intention to maintain the deadline. The NAVS received the following communication from the Cabinet of Commissioner Tonio Borg: “Commissioner remains firmly determined to maintain the March deadline and does not envisage to present a legal proposal to postpone the deadline or to provide for derogations.”

This follows hot on the heels of various reports about the March deadline. In November last year, it was reported that Commissioner Borg asserted that he felt the ban on animal testing should enter into force in March 2013.

The NAVS is heartened by this news, believing that the cosmetic industry has had a sufficient amount of time in which to develop alternatives; postponing the 2013 deadline would reward those companies still using animals for their lack of efforts, and will wipe out the motivation for them to replace those unreliable and unnecessary tests

Recently in the European Parliament, a written question was placed which asked:

1. Is the Commission indeed planning to allow exemptions from the ban on placing on the market cosmetics produced with the aid of animal testing, and particularly to defer the introduction of the ban to some time after March 2013?
2. How extensive does the Commission intend these exemptions to be, and what form are they expected to take?
3. Until when does the Commission intend that these exemptions should remain in force?
4. How does the Commission justify these exemptions?

The answer, given by Mr Borg on behalf of the Commission, was that “The existing legislation sets 11 March 2013 as the final date for the full application of the marketing ban in relation to cosmetic products where either the final formulation or the ingredients or combination of ingredients have been subject to animal testing in order to meet the requirements of the Cosmetics Directive. To defer this date or introduce a derogation mechanism would require an amendment by ordinary legislative procedure of the Cosmetics Directive, respectively the Cosmetics Regulation, which replaces the Cosmetics Directive as of 11 July 2013.

The Commission will report its final assessment of the situation to the European Parliament and the Council in the coming months.”

Ban on cosmetics tested on animals:

The marketing deadline, which is due to come into place in March, will not be affected by the new Cosmetics Regulation, which begins in July. The Commission website states: “It shall be emphasised at the outset that, in its proposal, the Commission does not propose any changes to the rules relating to animal testing which were added to the Cosmetics Directive by the “seventh amendment” in 2003”.

The Directive had been amended over 50 times since 1976 and had become an amalgamation of amendments with “no coherent terminology.” In its announcement of the proposed recast of the Directive in 2008, the European Commission stated that it wanted “to simplify the European law on cosmetics and 27 transposing national pieces of legislation representing over 3500 pages of legal text”, by replacing it with one single regulation.

By grouping the 55 existing directives into one piece of legislation, the regulation represents a “common European code of law on cosmetic products reducing the uncertainties arising from differentiated implementation of the previous directives in the 27 member states” which, most importantly, will not affect the ban on using animals for testing cosmetics in the EU.

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