Product recall system “poses grave risks” to consumers says Which?


Product recall systems in the UK are putting people‘s lives at risk and there is a need for a complete overhaul, according to consumer group Which?

In a recent report, the group criticised the system for being disjointed, highlighting its lack of national oversight as a key issue stating that it uses an “ineffective local solution to tackle what is a national problem”.

The news follows numerous high-profile product recalls in recent weeks, including Tesco‘s emergency recall of chicken salads thought to contain harmful bacteria, Primark‘s recall of flip-flops thought to contain cancerous substances and today‘s recall of numerous Mercedes diesel cars found to produce toxic emissions.

Which? is calling for a national body to be established to handle recall situations, as well as set up a single unified database for consumers to refer to “before there is further tragedy or loss of life”.

The problem has reportedly been exacerbated by local trading standards teams‘ staff cut by 56 per cent in 2009.

READ MORE:  Primark recalls flip-flops over carcinogenic chemical discovery

“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,” Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith said.

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

Local Government Association’s Safer and Stronger Communities chair Simon Blackburn added: “Council trading standards teams play a crucial role in removing unsafe products from sale, prosecuting irresponsible sellers and helping to keep communities safe.

“A new national database of product recalls should be supported by a major publicity campaign to help flag it up to  consumers as a trusted one-stop site to check all electrical goods.

“Rather than a comprehensive overhaul, which is unnecessary, the product recall system needs realigning to best serve trading standards teams operating in local communities.”

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