Serious risk products increase by 32%

Products posing a serious risk to the health and safety of consumers in EU countries increased by 32 per cent in 2006, according to a report published today.

The latest European Rapid System (RAPEX) report, which deals with non-food consumer alerts, shows that 924 products were found to pose a serious risk last year compared to 701 in 2005.

A steep rise has been observed during the last few years and last year's figure is more than double the 388 serious risks recorded in 2004.

In the UK, 92 notifications were recorded, representing ten per cent of the EU total. Only Greece, Hungary and Germany reported more serious risks than the UK, with Spain reporting nine per cent of the total.

China was found to be the country of origin of the notified products in 48 per cent of all risk reports, largely due to the huge amount of product imports coming into the EU from China, which dwarfs any other exporter.

Meglena Kuneva, European commissioner for consumer affairs, said that a memorandum of understanding with China had been signed, including a roadmap to improve the safety of incoming toys.

"An important development has been intensified cooperation at international level, particularly with China," Ms Kuneva said.

"Given the fact that China has rapidly become one of the biggest exporters of consumer products to Europe, the commission has signed a memorandum of understanding and a roadmap for safer toys to improve the safety of incoming products."

The majority of the products reported were toys and electrical appliances which equated to 43 per cent of all risks. Motor vehicles, lighting equipment and cosmetics made up the remainder of the top five product categories.

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