However, the legislation passed by the Strasbourg-based Parliament covers only new products but not the marketing of previously tested cosmetics.
The legislation is to take effect immediately for cosmetics in which other non-animal testing methods exists. But in other cases, where no substitute is available, cosmetic companies have another five years to come up with non-animal tests.
Companies that continue to test during that period must label their products with "Tested on Animals" in large, easily read lettering.
"Since there are 8,000 ingredients that exist that have already been tested, we're only talking about a very small number of untested ingredients," said European Parliament spokesman Judith Eckard.
Moreover, Eckard said, the thousands of previously tested ingredients can be combined in new ways, without being under the new EU ban.
Nonetheless, the legislation has already stirred controversy among animal-testing proponents. Critics say animal testing is sometimes necessary to test against human allergies. Others argue the restrictions violate World Trade Organization regulations.
Danish lawmaker Dagmar Roth-Behrendt, who spearheaded the testing debate, argues the new ban falls within WTO guidelines. Roth-Berhrendt said the ban was similar to a recently adopted U.S. act banning the production and import of dog and cat fur products.
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