EU report on unsafe product notifications demonstrates need for legal reform
PRESS RELEASE - 02.03.2021
In 2020, more than 2,200 notifications of non-food products were made to the EU’s rapid alert system (SafetyGate) as failing safety requirements. The European Commission revealed this today in its annual report.
Each notification can represent many faulty products. Toys, motor vehicles and electrical equipment were the product groups with most notifications in 2020. Among the notifications are toxic toy ponies, inflatable swimming seats for children from which small parts can detach, and hair curlers that may give an electric shock.
Other products (such as furniture, textiles or childcare products) have a chance this year to see their safety beefed up thanks to the upcoming overhaul of an EU safety law .
Monique Goyens, Director General at The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC), commented:
“Unsafe products should not be on the market, full stop. Today’s report illustrates that national authorities must always remain vigilant. At the same time, the numbers are likely an undercount as many products can slip through the safety net. That is because the EU’s safety law dates to 2001 and is not made for an era where people shop online or can easily buy a variety of smart products. The European Commission’s plans to reform the law later this year are long overdue, and we count on a swift adoption of a future-proof product safety law.”
Stephen Russell, Secretary-General of The European Consumer Voice in Standardisation (ANEC), said:
“Unfortunately, we think the report shows only the tip of the iceberg. Europe needs new legislation that acknowledges the risks from smart products, and which requires a product to be safe and (cyber)secure throughout its lifetime, not just when placed on the market. Tougher rules on the market surveillance and conformity of products need to be extended to all consumer products, and an EU-wide accident & injuries database set up in order to underpin evidence-based legislation and technical standardisation. We want to be safe, not sorry.”
 This refers to the EU’s General Product Safety Directive (GPSD) which sets safety requirements for products that do not benefit from sector-specific safety laws. See also the joint ANEC-BEUC view on this reform.