Protecting European consumers: Safety Gate efficiently helps take dangerous COVID-19 products off the market
Today, the European Commission published its annual report on the Safety Gate, which is the EU rapid alert system for dangerous consumer products helping to take dangerous non-food products off the market. The report shows that the number of actions taken by authorities following an alert is growing year by year, reaching a new record number of 5,377, compared to 4,477 in 2019. 9% of all alerts raised in 2020 concerned products related to COVID-19, mostly masks meant to protect but failing to do so. Other examples for dangerous COVID-19 related products notified in the Safety Gate are disinfectants containing toxic chemicals, such as methanol that can lead to blindness or even death if swallowed, or UV sanitizers that exposed users to strong radiation causing skin irritations.
Didier Reynders, Commissioner for Justice, said:
“The Safety Gate has demonstrated to be crisis-proof: during the COVID-19 pandemic, it has helped protect consumers by being a key instrument to efficiently and swiftly circulate information concerning dangerous products, such as unsafe masks or toxic disinfectants and remove them from the market. With protective tools such as this one, consumer rights are further guaranteed.”
Main findings of the report
Surveillance action focused on COVID-19 related products that have become essential to all consumers and hence in 2020 there were 161 alerts on masks, 3 alerts on specific overalls, 13 alerts on hand disinfectants and 18 alerts on UV lamps supposed to function as sterilizers. The alerts circulated in the system continue this year.
In 2020, authorities from the 31 participating countries of the Safety Gate network (EU Member States plus Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and the UK) exchanged a total of 2,253 alerts on measures taken against dangerous products through the system. They reacted with 5,377 follow-up actions. This represents an increase of more than 20% from the 2019 number of follow-ups.
According to the report, toys are the most notified product category (27% of total notifications), followed by motor vehicles (21%) and electrical appliances and equipment (10%). This illustrates that market surveillance in the EU has a special focus on children, a vulnerable consumer group. In general, the most frequently flagged concerns related products causing injuries such as fractures or concussions (25%), followed by chemical components in products (18%) and risks for children to choke (12%).
In comparison to last year, more online marketplaces are committing to improve the safety of the products they sell. Yesterday, two new signatories have joined the Product Safety Pledge initiative: Joom and Etsy. They thus promise to check products on Safety Gate are not for sale on their websites and to act quickly in case national authorities signal to them any dangerous products, which should be taken down.
The Commission rewards businesses that go the extra mile to protect consumers with the EU's Product Safety Award. This year's edition, which was launched for applications yesterday, will focus on initiatives aimed at protecting vulnerable consumers in particular and on the use of new technologies to enhance product consumer safety. The deadline to apply is April 30th. You can find more information here.
Latest News from
Presentation by Commissioner Hahn of the NextGenerationEU – Funding strategy to finance the Recovery Plan for Europe16/04/2021 15:20:00
Presentation given recently (14 April 2021) by Commissioner Hahn of the NextGenerationEU – Funding strategy to finance the Recovery Plan for Europe.
COVID-19: Council agrees its negotiating mandate on the Digital Green Certificate16/04/2021 14:05:00
EU ambassadors recently (14 April 2021) agreed a mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament on the proposal for a Digital Green Certificate.
Statement by President von der Leyen on developments in the Vaccines Strategy16/04/2021 13:15:00
Statement given recently (14 April 2021) by President von der Leyen on developments in the Vaccines Strategy.
"The state of the world order and the importance of the India-EU relationship" - Address by President Charles Michel at the Raisina Dialogue 202116/04/2021 11:05:00
Address given recently (14 April 2021) by President Charles Michel at the Raisina Dialogue 2021.
Retail Clients Continue to Lose Out Due to High Investment Products Costs15/04/2021 14:10:00
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU securities regulator, yesterday published its third annual statistical report on the cost and performance of European Union (EU) retail investment products.
ESMA Publishes Annual Peer Review of EU CCP Supervision09/04/2021 11:10:00
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, yesterday published its annual peer review report on the supervision of EU Central Counterparties (CCPs) by National Competent Authorities (NCAs).
ESMA Report Highlights Liquidity Concerns For Alternative Investment Funds08/04/2021 15:20:00
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU securities regulator, today publishes its third annual statistical report on the Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) sector.
ESMA Publishes Draft Regulatory Technical Standards on Changes to CCPS’ Activities And Models08/04/2021 13:25:00
The European Securities and Markets Authority, the EU’s securities markets regulator, today published its Final Report containing draft regulatory technical standards (RTS) relating to changes to central counterparty (CCP) services and activities, as well as models and parameters under the European Markets Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR).
Joint Statement by Commissioner Reynders and Yoon Jong In, Chairperson of the Personal Information Protection Commission of the Republic of Korea30/03/2021 15:25:00
In their call today, Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders and Chairperson of the Personal Information Protection Commission Yoon Jong In welcomed the successful conclusion of the adequacy talks between the European Union and the Republic of Korea.