Ministry of Health bans the use of wildlife products in cosmetics

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Vietnam's Ministry of Health (MOH) has banned the use of rare and endangered wildlife products in cosmetics. Correspondence detailing this ban was sent by the Drug Administration of Vietnam to all provincial health departments and all cosmetic retail and production companies in Vietnam on August 28th. The ban is in effect immediately.


Hwa Yong

(Photo: Cosmetic product containing bear bile that was imported and sold in Vietnam - Source: Internet)


Businesses currently selling and producing cosmetics must ensure that their products contain no illegal rare and endangered wildlife products. If any of their products contain ingredients from rare or endangered animals and plants, the business must prove the ingredient was obtained legally. Furthermore, if the cosmetic contains ingredients from an endangered species prioritized for protection such as a bear or pangolin, this ingredient must be removed from the product. All cosmetic businesses must stop selling, importing, and producing cosmetic products that contain endangered species prioritized for protection.


“We are pleased with the actions of the Ministry of Health,” said Bui Thi Ha, head of ENV’s policy and legislative team.  “It is an important first step in the process of eliminating use of endangered species in cosmetics and other manufactured products.”


Wildlife products such as bear bile are widely used in skin creams and other cosmetics in Vietnam. Over the past few years, ENV has been actively working on a number of cases involving commercial enterprises that use endangered wildlife in both packaged medicines and cosmetics. In May of 2015, ENV formally asked the Ministry of Health to address these problems in the cosmetics industry on a greater scale. ENV consulted the MOH on the legal aspects of the new instruction. 


For full details of the Instruction, click HERE.