Action urged over product safety scaresGovernment needs to 'restore consumer confidence'

25 August 2007

The government has been urged to act to restore consumer confidence following a series of high profile product safety scares.

It follows the recent recall by Mattel of millions of Chinese-made toys amid fears over lead in paint and the use of small magnets which children could choke on.

Concerns have also been raised over the safety of lead in children’s jewellery and dangerous chemical levels in some clothing produced in China.

The Trading Standards Institute now wants a review of the familiar ‘CE’ mark.

CE mark

It says people believe the mark signifies that a product has met strict European safety standards.

However, in the case of toys and electrical equipment, it’s a self-declaration of safety by the manufacturers.

Chairman Bryan Lewin said: ‘The recent safety alerts remind us of the fact that there is room for improvement in our monitoring of products which are either made here or are imported into the UK from abroad, particularly from the burgeoning Far Eastern markets.’

The TSI also wants the government to place more emphasis on product safety testing and enforcement and to reintroduce a central database listing incidents and injuries occurring in and outside the home.

Toy recall

David Hawtin, Director General for the British Toy and Hobby Association said: ‘The British Toy and Hobby Association shares consumers’ concerns about the recent recall of toys containing lead paint and toys which might release small parts in the form of magnets.

‘Product recalls are an essential precaution necessary to protect children from safety hazards.

‘Consumers who are worried about the safety of any of the toys involved in the recalls should first inspect them for any signs of damage and if still uncertain take the toys away from the child.

‘The recent recalls are related to specific toys and specific companies and do not reflect the fundamental safety of other toys on retailer shelves.’