It still remains to be seen, but reading this article it looks likely:
‘Cruelty-Free’ Cosmetics Marketing Gets Big Boost From L’Oreal
by Sarah Mahoney, Wednesday, May 9, 2007 5:00 AM ET
COSMETICS GIANT L’OREAL HAS GOTTEN approval in Europe to replace animal testing with tests done on engineered human tissue. And that’s not just happy news for lab rabbits: Observers say it takes the entire world of cosmetic marketers one bunny-hop closer to a universal definition of “cruelty free.”
The process–the L’OrÃ©al Episkin model, administered by a subsidiary called SkinEthic–uses a human epidermis reconstructed on collagen and is available to the entire cosmetic industry. “More than twenty years of research on skin reconstruction have been recognized,” the company said, in announcing that it had won the approval of the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods. “It is a great step towards the elimination of animal use,” enabling “the replacement of animal tests for skin-irritancy of 10,000 substances.”
Large cosmetics companies have routinely tested both raw materials and final products on animals to guarantee safety and eliminate potential irritants. And while fringier animal-rights groups have long considered the practice offensive, more and more mainstream shoppers have become sensitive to the issue. Pioneered by the meteoric success of the Body Shop back in the 1980s, brands like Aveda, Avon, L’Occitaine and even Mary Kay Cosmetics have made their against-animal-testing policies a key selling point.
While L’Oreal and other European companies–where consumers are typically more concerned about environmental issues–are on the cutting edge, in the U.S., “cruelty free” continues to be a marketing phrase that is virtually meaningless, says the Food & Drug Administration. “There are no legal definitions for the terms ‘cruelty free’ or ‘not tested on animals,'” says the FDA.
For example, a company can label a product as “cruelty free” simply because it has outsourced its animal testing, bought raw materials from a supplier who tests products on animals, or uses ingredients that were tested on animals years ago.
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