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Trouble in Toy Town: Christmas Concerns as Over a Third of Consumer Product Recalls are of Toys

Toys accounted for 38% of all consumer product recalls in Europe in the last quarter, according to a report from Stericycle Expert Solutions, a figure which may trouble consumers as the Christmas present buying season gets into full swing.

136 of the 354 consumer product recalls and notifications in Q3 2017 related to toys, which has been the top category every year since 2014, and 91% of these originated in China. Whilst this should not be surprising, given that a huge proportion of consumer goods, including toys, are manufactured in China, it does raise concerns about the continued influx of unsafe products that have to be removed from the market and out of the hands of young owners.

Stericycle Expert Solutions, which has managed product recalls on behalf of some of the world’s biggest brands, states that retailers need to take extra care when importing toys and other consumer products. As the number of toys powered by lithium-ion batteries increases, the potential for these products to be recalled rises – and that poses special challenges for all stakeholders.

“You only have to look at the list of predicted top toys for Christmas from major retailers like Amazon and Argos to see the influence of technology-led products in today’s market,” commented Farzad Henareh, European Vice President at Stericycle Expert Solutions.

A closer look at the Stericycle Expert Solutions Q3 Recall Index reveals that China is the country of origin for all five of the top consumer product recall hazard categories for the fifth consecutive quarter. China’s dominance in the Index does reflect the country’s influence on the category, however, it also means that Chinese companies will need to move faster on recalls and adopt product recall plans if the public is to perceive them as responsible industry leaders.

These issues are being addressed with greater cooperation between manufacturers, regulators and importers with initiatives such as RAPEX-CHINA, a system that encourages rapid data sharing between the EU and China on product safety administration.

A broader look at the Recall Index reveals that 24.3% of all consumer product recalls related to choking hazards, with the vast majority of these being the risk of a product part on a toy becoming detached. More often than not, the product did not comply with the Toy Safety Directive and the relevant European Standard according to RAPEX. Recalls of just under a quarter (24.9%) of consumer products were because of the risk from chemicals, with the most common product affected, again, being toys.

Along with clothing, textiles and fashion, a category that accounted for 51 recalls during the quarter, the other top category was electrical appliances and equipment, in which products that originated in China figured largely, to the extent that 88.6% of all recalls in this category came from China. The major hazard in the electrical appliances category is from electric shock.

“Products sold by reputable retailers are likely to have met with the most stringent regulations, but consumers purchasing toys this Christmas do need to remain vigilant, check any small parts and look for EU certification wherever possible,” continued Farzad Henareh.

Stericycle Expert Solutions encourages manufacturers and retailers to ensure they have a robust recall procedure in place to quickly locate products for effective removal. It has recently launched 4Sight, a recall preparation service that helps companies to decide on the most appropriate recall package to suit their needs and integrates proven best practices regardless of the organisation’s size, geography, industry or regulatory environment.

The Stericycle European Recall and Notification Index is based on data from the EU’s RAPEX and RASFF rapid alert systems. For access to the full Q3 2017 Index, please download the report:

About Stericycle Expert Solutions ™

Stericycle Inc. is a NASDAQ-listed global business-to-business services company that provides highly specialised solutions to healthcare and commercial businesses of all sizes. Founded in 1989, Stericycle Inc. has grown to become a leader across a range of complex and highly regulated market sectors and operates in 550 locations. Stericycle Expert Solutions ™ is the industry leader in managing automotive, consumer product, pharmaceutical, medical device, juvenile product, and food and beverage recalls. Expert Solutions streamlines the entire product recall process and manages Notification & Response, Processing & Tracking, and Compliance & Reporting for leading global companies.

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