The General Product Safety Directive (GPSD) is the legislation applicable to products sold in the European Union when there is no specific directive or regulation applicable for that product. This Directive ensures the safety of consumers when no sectorial safety legislation exists. Consequently, the GPSD covers a wide range of products, from candles to brushes, from cosmetic kit accessories to general house decorations.
Compliant documentation and conformity assessment
Manufacturers of GPSD products must be able to provide a compliant file if they want to place their goods on the EU market. Among the main elements, the documentation includes the Declaration of Conformity, labels and instructions for use (IFUs), technical file, and declarations. Additionally, manufacturers might be obliged to include documents or warnings related to particular features of the product. For instance, consumers must be informed about the presence of plastics in the product, its flammability, and be provided with any other supplementary safety information.
A new law coming soon: General Product Safety Regulation
In June 2021, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a new General Product Safety Regulation (GPSR). In March 2023, the Parliament voted in favour of this new legislation. The Regulation will introduce new aspects that will significantly impact EU and non-EU manufacturers. Some of the main elements of the Proposal are:
- Stricter traceability system, requiring manufacturers to display their contact details on product packaging or their website.
- Person responsible for products placed on the market, obliging that a product must have a manufacturer, importer, authorised representative, or fulfilment service provider based in the EU.
- New obligations for distance sales, requiring online sellers to provide the same amount of information as for offline (in-store) sales.
- Creation of a single market surveillance regime, under which the Market Surveillance Regulation will apply to harmonised and non-harmonised products.
- Penalties, laid down by Member States for violations.
The new Regulation will probably become applicable by the end of 2024.
Authorised Representative for general products
With the current Directive, non-EU manufacturers can appoint an authorised representative (EAR). Among their tasks, the EAR keeps the manufacturer’s documentation at the disposal of national surveillance authorities and cooperates with competent authorities to eliminate any risks the products might represent. Under the upcoming Regulation, manufacturers must have an economic operator based in the EU, such as an authorised representative.
Obelis can act as your authorised representative in the European Union and the United Kingdom and check your documents to guide you through compliance.
European Commission. (2001). Directive 2001/95/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 December 2001 on general product safety. Retrieved on 05/04/2023.
European Commission. (2021). Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on general product safety, amending Regulation (EU) No 1025/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council, and repealing Council Directive 87/357/EEC and Directive 2001/95/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council. Retrieved on 05/04/2023.
European Parliament. (2023). Briefing – General product safety regulation. Retrieved on 05/04/2023.