Protecting European consumers: Safety Gate efficiently helps take dangerous COVID-19 products off the market

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


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.

Next steps

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.

Background

Since 2003, the Safety Gate enables quick exchange of information between EU/EEA member states, the UK and the European Commission about dangerous non-food products posing a risk to health and safety of consumers. This way, appropriate follow-up action can be taken and products can be banned from the market.

Matching with the publication of the report, the Commission has launched its fully revamped Safety Gate public website with a modern and user-friendly interface to speed up and facilitate the notification process. Pages are progressively translated into all EU languages, Icelandic and Norwegian. Businesses can also use the Business Gateway to quickly and efficiently inform national authorities about security concerns regarding a product that they have put on the market.

Another action on consumer protection is the https://ec.europa.eu/info/files/product-safety-pledge_en , which sets out specific voluntary actions of marketplaces to swiftly remove offers of unsafe products from their platforms. To date, eleven online marketplaces have signed this agreement to cooperate with Member States to remove dangerous products from their websites: bol.com, eMAG, Wish.com, AliExpress, Amazon, eBay, Rakuten France, Allegro, Cdiscount, and yesterday, Etsy and Joom.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Europe should make voice ‘more heard’ in today’s ‘dangerous world,’ says UN chief

The revenge of the fallen

Syrian crisis is ‘clearest example’ of foreign investment in terrorism, Deputy Prime Minister says at UN

This Syrian national has been trapped at Kuala Lumpur airport for 3 months

European Commission calls on national political parties to join efforts to ensure free and fair elections in Europe

Back to the Basics: Primary Healthcare

Learning lessons from across Europe – the hidden costs of COVID-19 on lung cancer

Eliminating gender based bias in medicine: the role of medical students

MEPs propose more transparent legislative drafting and use of allowances

Out with the old: Young People transforming Humanitarian Action

Parliament adopts deal to improve quality of tap water and reduce plastic litter

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Eaton Hydraulics by Danfoss, subject to conditions

5 ways to #BeatAirPollution

Security spillovers from Trump’s trade wars: China, Germany prepare for global disorder

Iceland’s slowdown underlines the need to fix structural issues

Wirecard: MEPs call for new audit rules, protection for whistle-blowers and EU supervision

Why salaries could finally be on the way up

Estonia: use robust growth to improve income equality and well-being

More funds needed to counter ‘persistent and multi-faceted humanitarian problems’ in Ethiopia

EU prolongs economic sanctions on Russia by six months

New energy security framework will help meet growing needs in East Africa, sustainably – UN economic wing

Postal workers in France are helping elderly people fight loneliness

We are witnessing a revolution in genomics – and it’s only just begun

Why transparency in drug pricing is more complicated than it seems

COP21 Breaking News_04 December: Launch of CREWS, climate risk & early warning systems

Merkel: Nationalism and egoism must never have a chance again in Europe

More funding needed to combat locust swarms ‘unprecedented in modern times’

Global warming: our responsibility

Beware the fragility of the global economy

Commission provides 20 cities with funding for innovative security, digital, environmental and inclusion projects

WHO and UNICEF in campaign to protect 1.6 million in Sudan from cholera

Falling inflation urges ECB to introduce growth measures today

Why are the financial markets shivering again?

‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ clean-up project launches trial run: UN Environment

EU labour mobility: Inconvenient truths for everybody

European Parliament and Eurovision sign partnership for European Elections

EU attempts to make new deal with Turkey as relations deteriorate

Technophobe or technophile? We need more conversation about digital transformation

‘Emulate his example’ urges UN chief as world celebrates Nelson Mandela: a ‘global advocate for dignity and equality’

MWC 2016 LIVE: Qualcomm looks to pick up Hamilton’s winning ways

EP and EU ministers agree on Erasmus+ programme for 2021-2027

My experience living with depression and schizophrenia in Thailand

Building cybersecurity capacity through benchmarking: the Global Cybersecurity Index

3 ways to rebuild trust in how we regulate technology

First calls under Horizon Europe to be launched by the European Research Council

Philanthropy must face a reckoning on race in 2021

New UN finance panel to push Global Goals forward

Conditions deteriorating alarmingly in Yemen, warns senior UN official

Commission reinforces tools to ensure Europe’s interests in international trade

EU mobilises emergency assistance for Croatia in the aftermath of devastating earthquake

Commission concludes that an Excessive Deficit Procedure is no longer warranted for Italy at this stage

Better ID card security to curb document fraud

Can we automate our way out of the savings crisis?

5 lessons for the future of universities

Things are bad and getting worse for South Africa. Or are they?

This is why AI has a gender problem

Commission paralysed before the banking leviathan

The world must pull together to stem the urgent crisis in our ocean

Alice in Colombia

The recipe for creativity involves a lot of ideas, and a short break

More Stings?

Advertising

Trackbacks

  1. […] EU Safety Gate Helps Take Dangerous Products Off The Market March 2, 2021, The European Sting The EC published its annual report on Safety Gate, the EU rapid alert system for taking dangerous non-food products off the market. The report shows actions are growing annually, reaching a new record number of 5,377, compared to 4,477 in 2019. […]

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s