In accordance with global trend towards implementation of ethical alternatives to animal testing of cosmetics, Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) will permit the use of alternatives to animal testing in substantiating the safety of functional cosmetics. The policy shift has been written into the draft of revised Regulation on Evaluation of Functional Cosmetics which was released on Dec 5 for public comment until 26 Dec 2013.
Functional cosmetics which include brightening products, anti-wrinkle products and sunscreens must be evaluated by MFDS prior to market release. However, the evaluation of these products is considered to be overly stringent given that almost every ingredient contained in a product requires testing rather than just testing the active functional ingredient(s). This outdated paradigm has the dual effect of unnecessarily requiring repetition of animal tests and placing the Korean government under the intense pressures exerted by animal rights activist groups and companies who are waiting to enter a "cruelty-free" Korean market. With the development of alternatives to animal testing and the positive effect the EU’s blanket ban on animal testing of cosmetics has had, it is no wonder that countries such as China and Korea are changing their outlook on mandatory animal testing. Indeed in November this year China announced its intention to make animal testing optional for domestic non-special use cosmetics (ChemLinked news 7 Nov).
Troy Seidle, HSI’s Director of Research & Toxicology, said: "Animal testing for general cosmetics is already non-mandatory in Korea. This is the second major move towards non-animal testing that Korea has taken in as many months and that pace of change is commendable. The creation of a Korea Centre for Alternatives, announced in October, demonstrated a commitment to cutting-edge science. Allowing cosmetics companies to now take advantage of these new techniques by replacing unreliable animal tests is a welcome development."
In addition to the animal testing issue, the revised draft removes two UV filters, Glyceryl PABA and 4-Aminobenzoic Acid (PABA), which have been deemed unsafe for continued use, from the “List of UV filters restricted for use in cosmetic products” included in the Korea’s Cosmetics Safety Standard. Cosmetic companies should discontinue using the two substances as sunscreening agents in Korea. Test items such as "net quantity of contents" and "heavy metals" will be deleted since they have been already provided in the Regulation on Safety Standards and Others of Cosmetics.
MFDS news alert (in Korea)
You are a visitor, Please login.