With COVID-19 bringing important changes to the commerce with more consumers using e-commerce platforms, the European Commission has been increasingly focusing on the product safety.
In its annual report on the Safety Gate (the EU rapid alert system for dangerous consumer products) covering 2020, the Commission showed that the number of actions taken by authorities following an alert is growing year by 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. Thanks to the Safety Gate, once a dangerous product is stopped in one country, authorities in other countries are quickly informed about this and can take the necessary measures.
The Safety Gate was created already back in 2003 under the General Product Safety Directive (the Commission is currently working on its revision to adapt it to the changed situation in markets: online shopping, connected products, new technologies…). As for businesses, the reporting of their dangerous products to the Member State authorities needs to be done through the Business Gateway.
Another action on consumer protection is the Product Safety Pledge, 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, including those where consumers can buy abrasive products (for instance AliExpress, Amazon, eBay).
The Commission also rewards businesses that go the extra mile to protect consumers with the EU’s Product Safety Award. Should you want to consider applying next year, you can find more information here.