Brussels, 5 September 2007
Following the decision by Mattel today to announce a third major recall, European Commissioner for Consumer Affairs Meglena Kuneva confirmed her intention to engage in a 2 month stocktaking exercise, using the case of the toy recalls this summer, to review the strengths and weaknesses of the consumer product safety mechanisms currently in place in Europe. Commissioner Kuneva has already informed her colleagues in the European Commissioner of her intention to carry out this review in the College meeting of August 29. The Commissioner met with the Chair of the European Parliament Committee for the Internal Market and Consumer Protection this week to discuss the details and to ask the European Parliament to contribute to the review. Commissioner Kuneva will present the results of her visit to China in July as well as her assessment of the events of the summer and the main elements of the toy safety review to the European Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday 12th September at 15.00. As part of the review process, Mattel has met twice in the last 10 days with Commissioner Kuneva's office. Commissioner Kuneva will speak with the CEO of Mattel tomorrow. The timetable of the main elements of the 2 month review process are listed below.
EU Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva, said, "The message to consumers across Europe is that there will be no compromise on consumer safety. With regard to the Mattel recall, my starting point is that a decision by a producer to recall a product when they suspect there is a risk to consumer safety is in principle a good thing. Responsible business recalls products if they suspect there is a risk to the health and safety of consumers. But as Consumer Commissioner it is also my job to ask tough questions. That is why we have had a second meeting today at official level in the Commission with Mattel. That is why I will speak with the Mattel CEO in person. I know that the European Commission's RAPID Alert system worked well over the summer, information was exchanged quickly and authorities were alerted and products withdrawn. I believe the current framework of rules we is up to the job. But I am determined that there will be no complacency when it comes to consumer safety, children and toys. I want to use this two-month period to check all the links in the chain. We must avoid knee-jerk reactions, but I want to be doubly sure that every single thing necessary is being done."
Timetable: Stocktaking review China – product safety – toys
September – October 2007. Main elements of review process:
Background: What is RAPEX
RAPEX is an EU-wide rapid alert system for non-food dangerous products, coordinated by the Commission and linking market surveillance authorities in 30 European countries. When authorities take restrictive measures (ban on sale, withdrawal from the market, recall from consumers, ...) concerning a product posing a serious risk for the health and safety of consumers, they must notify the Commission which validates the notifications, translates it and distributes it to the authorities in all other MS – there is then a formal obligation on Member State Authorities to take follow up measures on their national markets and to inform the Commission.
For RAPEX Annual Report 2006 see