Cosmetics that have been tested on animals abroad can be banned in the European Union, the bloc's top court ruled Wednesday, in a case involving products sold on the Chinese and Japanese markets.
A full ban on animal-tested cosmetics has been in force since 2013 in the EU, even though testing on rats, mice, guinea pigs and rabbits is still common in other parts of the world.
Britain asked the European Court of Justice to clarify the ban in the case of three companies belonging to the European Federation for Cosmetic Ingredients that had conducted animal testing outside the EU so that their products could be sold in China and Japan.
The federation turned to the courts in Britain to find out if the companies would face criminal penalties if they placed those products on the British market.
The EU judges argued that the objective of the ban would be "seriously compromised" if it could be circumvented by carrying out animal testing abroad, adding that it is "irrelevant" whether the testing was required to market the products in other countries.
The Luxembourg court ruled that products with ingredients tested on animals outside the EU can be prohibited in the bloc if the data from the testing is used to prove their safety.