Popular cosmetics chain The Body Shop has temporarily removed its products from two duty-free airport shops in China, as a result of the country’s animal testing policies.
Chinese law dictates that imported cosmetics must go through animal testing, although the law is apparently different when it comes to duty-free stores. According to Women’s Wear Daily, The Body Shop’s decision to pull their products came after the Australian consumer site Choice released a report announcing the presence of the brand, which is owned by L’Oréal, in Beijing and Shanghai airport stores.
According to Choice, “While no exemptions are specified in the legislation, cosmetics sold exclusively in duty-free stores do not have to undergo mandatory testing before being sold in China.”
But Chinese law does allow the government to evaluate retailers’ cosmetics at random and conduct “post-market tests” on them — tests that may include animal testing — “to gauge conformity with sanctioned formulas.”
A spokeswoman from The Body Shop confirmed that the possibility of these tests is what spurred the move.
“The Body Shop will not sell products if it would compromise one of our core beliefs, which is our opposition to animal testing,” she said.
However, the legislation that led to the removal of Body Shop products may soon change. The Chinese Food and Drug Administration announced plans in November to remove the animal testing requirement for “non-special use cosmetics,” such as perfume and shampoo, as long as they are produced within the borders of the country. Instead, retailers can prove the safety of their products with “existing data for raw ingredients or European Union-validated non-animal tests.”
For special use products like hair dye and antiperspirant, however, things remain uncertain. According to the Chemical Inspection and Regulation Service web site, “It is not clear when the current compulsory animal test will be removed for imported cosmetics or special use cosmetics produced in China.”
image credit: vivido