In February 2013, the European Commission published a legislative proposal on consumer product safety. The aim of the legislation is to reduce the number of serious incidents arising from unsafe products on the market and to increase consumer safety.
The proposal requires consumer products sold in the EU to conform to safety and health standards already laid down at EU level, and in the absence of such legislation, to member states’ health and safety regulations.
The proposal introduces a number of obligations on manufacturers and other actors operating in the field of consumer products to ensure that consumer product safety is maintained at a high level.
For example, manufacturers will be required to divulge information on the origin of the product by using the so-called “made in…” label; they will be required to keep a record of complaints received about their products; and when introducing a consumer product to the market, manufacturers will be required to produce and store technical data for up to ten years.
Consumer products will need to be accompanied by safety instructions and identification information such as the type, batch or serial number. Manufacturers will also be required to indicate their name, registered trade name or mark and a contact address. This measure will ensure that faulty products can be easily identified and manufacturers easily contacted.
Product conformity and traceability
Manufacturers who discover that a consumer product does not conform to EU legislation will be required to take action to bring it into conformity, withdraw or recall it.
Where products represent a serious risk to human health and safety, the European Commission shall have the power to require manufacturers to operate a system of traceability.
By introducing new obligations on manufacturers, distributors and importers to provide clear information to consumers as to the origin of products and where to complain in the case of a faulty consumer product, and with the ability to require the tracing of dangerous products, this legislation takes further steps in improving the safety of consumers in the European Union.