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Safety Gate: Motor vehicles and toys top the list of dangerous non-food products this year

The European Commission yesterday published its annual report on the Safety Gate, the EU rapid alert system for dangerous non-food products. The report covers alerts notified during 2021 and the actions taken by national authorities in response. In this annual report, for the first time, cars are at the top of the list of notified products, followed by toys. Also, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, protective equipment like face masks still makes up a substantial part of the products notified.

In light of the shift of consumption towards online shopping platforms, new instruments are also developed to better protect consumers shopping online and take the dangerous products off the market. In line with these objectives, the Commission also launched a new e-surveillance tool called “web crawler” that will help national authorities detect the online offers of unsafe products signalled in Safety Gate.

Didier Reynders, Commissioner for Justice, yesterday said:

“The Safety Gate has once again proved to be a vital tool to keep consumers safe from dangerous products. I am also proud of the continuous upgrade and reinforcement of the system. It is very important that the Safety Gate is adapted to fit into the new consumer environment. This way, we can ensure that the Safety Gate can remain an efficient tool for the Single Market, protecting consumers in all circumstances. It has also helped ensuring that equipment used in the fight against the pandemic is of the highest standards.”  

Main findings of the report

In 2021, authorities of the participating countries of the Safety Network exchanged 2,142 alerts through the system. For the first time, the highest number of alerts was notified in the category “motor vehicles” category, followed by “toys” and “electrical appliances and equipment”. As regards motor vehicles, actions taken mainly concerned recalls following the detection of technical problems while for toys, they focused on the presence of dangerous chemicals, as well as button batteries. Furthermore, the most common problems reported for electrical appliances and equipment related to the exposure of live parts and overheating issues.

As the pandemic continues, surveillance actions featured a range of COVID-19 related products. There were many alerts related to protective equipment, with protective masks particularly under the spotlight. The five most common risks reported were personal injuries, chemicals, fire, choking and electric shocks. In total, 4,965 follow-up notices circulated in Safety Gate, showing that Member States closely monitor the alerts and often follow-up with additional measures taken in their own countries.

The report shows that in 2021, the overall use of the rapid alert system network grew among its 30 participating countries (EU27 plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), keeping consumers safe from dangerous products.

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