Laura Sharman 19 July 2017

Product safety system is ‘putting lives at risk’ warns watchdog

The UK’s product safety and recall system is not fit for purpose and lacks national oversight, a new report has warned today.

Which? has called for urgent changes to the regime, saying the current ‘fragmented’ system is putting people’s lives at risk.

It is calling for a new national body to ensure dangerous products are taken out of people’s homes as quickly as possible. Which? also wants this new body to set up a ‘one-stop-shop’ for information on product recalls to help avoid tragedy or loss of life.

‘The product safety system simply isn’t fit for purpose, and its over-reliance on a local approach to a national problem poses grave risks to consumers,’ said chief executive of Which? Peter Vicary-Smith.

‘The government must now take urgent action and create a new national body that has all the tools it needs to get unsafe products out of people’s homes.’

The watchdog also said that a lack of resources for local trading standards teams were making problems with the regime even worse.

In response to the calls, the Local Government Association (LGA) said it would be ‘unwise’ to assume a national body could pick up the role of frontline trading standards officers.

Cllr Simon Blackburn, chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: ‘Rather than a comprehensive overhaul, which is unnecessary, the product recall system needs realigning to best serve trading standards teams operating in local communities.

’Any change to the system should therefore consider how existing national regulatory resources, which are already working with local government, can better support trading standards team locally across the country.’

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