New EU general product safety rules

On the 12 June 2023, the General Product Safety Regulation (GPSR) came into force.

This new framework aims to ensure and promote consumer product safety as a result of major societal changes over the last 20 years, such as increasing digitalisation and globalised supply chains.

This framework will help to make sure that only safe, non-food products are offered to consumers on the EU market, irrespective of whether they are sold in shops or online, and regardless of the origin of the products.

The Safety Gate is a system that ensures information on measures taken against non-food dangerous products is circulated quickly among the national authorities who are responsible for product safety in the single market countries in the EU.

A single market consists of a group of countries that do not charge tax on goods and services they import from and export to each other, thus forming one market. Over the past two decades, online sales have increased steadily – statistics from the Safety Gate show that 31% of alerts concern dangerous products sold online.

The GPSR addresses consumer safety with respect to products and/or risks that are not covered by other EU legislation, by:

  • broadening the assessment of consumer products;
  • improving the conditions for product safety between offline and online sales;
  • establishing consumer safety requirements for online marketplaces;
  • extending the obligation for all non-harmonised products imported to the EU to have an economic operator in the EU responsible for the product safety issues;
  • helping national authorities increase their enforcement powers; and
  • standardising product recall notices to ensure effective product recalls.

It is also worth noting that the European Commission has announced details of the EU Product Safety Award 2023 competition and, this year, the focus is to award businesses that bring innovation and investment in improving the safety of young people. Applications are open until 8 September 2023.

To apply, companies must be based in one of the 30 European Economic Area countries (the 27 EU Member States plus Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein). After an eligibility screening, a jury panel of policy and safety experts selects the finalists in each category.

Winners of this year’s award will be announced during the official gala ceremony hosted in Brussels in December this year – so keep an eye out in December 2023 for the winners!

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