Alternatives to animal testing

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Testing certified by the Vegan Trademark

The Vegan Trademark is the original international standard regulated by The Vegan Society. As part of our robust verification process, we ensure no animal testing has been conducted at the initiative of the brand or on their behalf, or by parties over whom the company has effective control. We understand that regulatory testing can be difficult to navigate when looking for non-animal dependent tests, so the Vegan Trademark has registered some alternative tests to help brands through their product safety testing journey.

We DO NOT accept HET-CAM, BCOP and ICE testing.

Vegan Laboratory testing

There are now multiple laboratories leading the way in developing testing solutions that do not use any non-human animal by-products, across multiple industries. Some of these laboratories have gone the extra mile and registered their vegan tests with the Vegan Trademark. Connecting with these laboratories gives brands further confidence in their vegan credentials and simplifies the checking process when working with The Vegan Society, since the tests have been pre-certified for use.

We hope that by encouraging the development and use of these animal-free tests by laboratories and brands, the testing industry will observe the shift and this will have a positive effect in the future.

Meeting regulations doesn’t have to mean using non-human animal products, and these tests provide the same (if not more accurate) results without exploitation.

You can find out more about each test by clicking the dropdown menus.

About XCellR8

XCellR8 was launched in 2008. Their goal was to supply scientifically advanced testing services to the cosmetic and chemical industries, without the use of animals or animal by-products.

The testing solutions were created to improve methods for predicting human safety using human-cell cultures and other in vitro techniques.

XCellR8 has developed completely animal-product-free (vegan) safety tests for cosmetic products and ingredients. We were delighted to achieve The Vegan Society verification for our DPRA skin sensitisation test, and we plan to register other tests too. The trademark means cosmetic companies and ingredient suppliers can be confident that vegan products are being tested in a vegan-compliant way while ensuring human safety.

- Aminta Hand, XCellR8 Marketing Executive

Testing information

These methods have proven scientific advantages as they are more likely to interact with the tested substance in line with human physiology unlike that of other species and a higher rate of reproducibility.

XCellR8’s Direct Peptide Reactivity Assay (DPRA) – OECD Test Guideline 442c is currently registered with the Vegan Trademark.

About MSL

Under EU regulations (Cosmetic Regulation 1223/2009) all cosmetic or personal care products on sale in the EU must undergo safety testing and have a Cosmetic Product Safety Report (CPSR).

The report includes a Preservative Efficacy Test (or ‘Challenge Test’). In everyday terms, the test will establish if the preservatives within the product will prevent harmful contaminants from growing on or in your products while you are using them.

You can check how long a product can be safely used after opening by the best before end date (BBE) or the period after opening (POA) time printed on individual products. This can be displayed on the product as a container (see example) with a number and an ‘M’ for months.

Amelia Knight is proud to be a certified cruelty-free company. As end-consumers demand truly vegan products, we feel it is important to reflect this. MSL's VeganSure® solution has enabled us to offer fully tested and regulatory-approved products, which support ethical and vegan formulations.

- Kathryn Crosthwaite, Head of Regulatory Compliance & Quality at Amelia Knight

Testing information

The first-ever vegan version of this test is VeganSure® by MSL Solution Providers. Registered with the Vegan Trademark, it replaces all animal-derived ingredients with plant-derived or synthetic alternatives, such as papaya-derived enzymes, soya bean, sugars from potatoes, cornmeal, and plant peptones, to assure the safety of a cosmetic product without compromising vegan ethics. MSL also has separate workflows in place to avoid cross-contamination.

MSL’s registered tests include VeganSure – Cosmetics – Microbiology – Evaluation of the antimicrobial protection of a cosmetic product and VeganSure – Cosmetics – Microbiology – Microbial Content.

About ADSL

ADSL was formed in 2008, specialising in formulation and testing services within the cosmetic and household goods industry.

For a cosmetic product to reach the market, it must have a Product Information File (PIF) which contains the testing and historical data of the product. A part of the PIF is a Cosmetic Product Safety Report (CPSR) and to gain a CPSR, the product must be deemed safe from a microbiological contamination.

Realistically, this is totally unnecessary and avoidable, and the same results can be achieved without using any animal products at all. This is why we have developed an alternative to this test so, at ADSL, we can ensure that a product can go through the development and registration process with the total absence of any animal products.

- Jake Robinson, ADSL Microbiologist

Testing information

To devise its safety, bacteria, yeast, and mould are introduced to see if the product’s preservatives can kill enough of the contaminants for it to be safe for human use. The most common method for this test is to use a culture medium (this is used to grow microorganisms) that contains animal derivatives. ADSL have introduced a vegan version of this test.

ADSL’s registered tests include Vegan Preservative Efficacy Test and Vegan Colony Count Test.

About Melbec Microbiology

Melbec Microbiology is a UKAS accredited testing laboratory (8615), including microbiology testing and contract research, accredited to ISO/IEC 17025:2017.

Since Melbec Microbiology launched in 2013, it has worked with customers from every continent to deliver the best service and support for all.

Its staff have many years’ experience and technical expertise in their chosen fields, delivering a plethora of standard and bespoke testing including cosmetics, personal care, biocidal products, wound care, UV testing, virology and vegan testing.

Its services are UKAS accredited, including our recent Vegan Society certified testing and flexible scope award for biocidal testing.

Having been a vegetarian for more than thirty years and then switching to a vegan diet about 4 years ago, being able to bring this ethos into the testing we carry out daily at Melbec has been personally very important to me. Any small changes that we can make to use alternatives to animal product, we will always implement.

- Dawn Mellors, Technical Director of Melbec Microbiology

Testing information

It is the first UK lab to be UKAS accredited and Vegan Society certified for both batch release (ISO 21149/ISO 16212) and preservative efficacy testing (ISO 11930) only using vegan consumables.

Traditional microbiology testing utilises standard culture media, including broths, agars and other diluents. Most culture media contains animal-derived products, including tryptones, peptones and casein. These are used as natural sources of nutrients for microorganisms to grow and are commonly derived from enzymatic digestion of milk or meat. This constitutes a problem and is a point of discussion when it comes to the testing of natural and vegan cosmetic products, as it means that the full process to get a vegan product to market must still involve the use of traditional media containing animal-derived ingredients.

Melbec prides itself on being able to offer its clients a vegan alternative solution testing of this kind, by being able to perform both Preservative Efficacy Testing (PET; ISO 11930) and Batch Release/Quality Control (QC; ISO 21149/ISO 16212) testing using vegan alternative culture media.

All media alternatives are validated to ensure that they perform comparably to traditional media, as well as meeting the UKAS requirements of ISO 17025.

This means UKAS accredited testing can be offered for clients using vegan alternative culture media.

Registering alternative testing solutions 

If you are a laboratory who offers vegan testing solutions and would like to work with us, please fill in the query form below and a member of the team will be in touch to help you. 

Laboratory partnership query

Please note: this form is for vegan lab testing companies to get in touch with us. 

If you would like to connect with the labs mentioned on this page, please follow the links to directly connect with them. 

Your business details are provided to The Vegan Society so that we can get in touch with you about your request. We may also contact you from time to time about updates regarding the Vegan Trademark, support we can provide in relation to your query, and other potential marketing opportunities to support you. Your data will be securely stored and will be deleted should you retract your consent in the future. You can do this at any time by sending an email to Trademark[at]vegansociety[dot]com or unsubscribing when you receive marketing communications. 

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