A new international portal was launched in Brussels on Friday, which will allow authorities across the world to exchange information about unsafe products that have been taken off the market.
The 'Global Recalls Portal' is a project developed jointly by the EU and OECD countries including the U.S., Australia and Canada. It was unveiled by the Director-General in the Directorate General for Health and Consumers of the European Commission (SANCO), Paola Testori Coggi, the OECD Deputy Secretary General, Rintaro Tamaki, and U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman, Inez Tenenbaum, as part of International Product Safety Week.
Consumers are increasingly buying on the world market, online and offline. In this larger global market, they want to be sure that no dangerous products have slipped through the net. How can they find out whether the baby-carrier or the bike made outside the EU complies with European and international safety requirements? They can look it up in the "Global Recalls" portal.
With an expected 3,000 product recall notices per year, consumers, businesses and authorities will have access to a remarkable pool of information on recalled products, enriched on a regular basis by the EU (through RAPEX, the EU rapid alert system for dangerous non-food products), U.S., Canadian and Australian authorities.
The portal, whose data are in searchable format, will contribute to boosting consumer safety across the world and will enhance consumers' awareness and confidence in buying global.
SANCO Director-General Testori Coggi, OECD Deputy Secretary- General Tamaki and U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman Tenenbaum expressed their satisfaction with the Global Recalls portal which will foster information sharing and contribute to efficient protection of consumers on the global marketplace.
They agreed that this new data pool will help government regulators, consumers and businesses search for information on consumer product recalls across the world. This is a case for joining forces to better be able to tackle product safety issues. The three representatives encouraged businesses and consumers alike to become regular users of Global Recalls. They also called upon countries around the world to participate in the portal, so that the largest possible market is covered.
The past five years have seen a slow but steady increase in the level of cross-border shopping. At the same time, the number of recalled products also increased. For instance, in South Korea, the number of recalls increased by about 25 percent in 2012, when compared to 2011. An increase by 8.5 percent in the number of recalls was noted in Australia in the current fiscal year, when compared to a year earlier. From 1992 to 2006, toy recalls increased at a faster rate than the increase in imports from foreign countries in the United States. This trend was also observed in the European Union, which shared 1,803 notifications via its RAPEX information-sharing system in 2011, when compared to 139 notifications in 2003.
The importance of ensuring the safety of products - and therefore of consumers - is high. The cost of product-related injuries and death worldwide exceeds $1 trillion per year, it is estimated.
by RTT Staff Writer
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