Whether bought online or in a shop, all products sold in the European Union have to respect EU regulatory requirements. In the pre-holiday season, many more products circulate on the EU markets in December. Consequently, the risk of encountering non-compliant products increases. A glance at some small details can reveal more information about the safety of products such as electronics and toys than we think.
How to recognise if your toys are safe
A product is classified as a toy when intended for play by children under 14 years old. Whether manufactured in the EU or not, toys must comply with the Toys Safety Directive. For all toys sold in the EU, manufacturers must ensure that their products do not pose a risk for the user’s safety and health. It is irrelevant if the product was purchased online or in a store, two main indicators might tell us if the product is safe and compliant:
- The manufacturer declares that the product is safe when it displays the CE marking. The CE marking indicates that the product was subject to a conformity assessment procedure and complies with the health and safety requirements.
- In the case of non-EU brand owners, the product shows an EU entry, meaning that it has an economic operator based in the EU.
Especially when it comes to online selling, the European Commission is taking significant steps to ensure that products sold online do not bypass the necessary compliance process. In this context, the Commission proposed a new Toys Regulation, addressing the risks posed by harmful chemicals and non-compliant toys, especially in online sales.
Electronics from a non-EU country
When it comes to electronics, checking your labels and instructions for use can be a good indicator of compliance. Electronic products, such as smartphones, laptops, televisions, appliances, etc., must come with different markings, information, and warnings. Moreover, the labels have to display batch, serial number, or any element that enables the identification of the product, among other things. Similar to the compliance path of toys, manufacturers can affix the CE marking on the products when they demonstrate that the product is safe and compliant.
Also in this case, you can assume that your electronic devices are compliant when they display the CE marking and have an economic operator based in the EU.
Decorations and general-purpose items
Some other items that become popular during the Christmas period are decorations, such as candles, plastic Christmas trees and their decorations, small Christmas-themed objects, and similar. All these products must meet the applicable EU regulatory requirements as well. Overall, general products for which there is no specific legislation fall under the scope of the General Product Safety Directive (GPSD). An important factor to consider when handling these products is the flammability. Therefore, products such as candles or having a high flammability risk must warn users about hazards and precautions.
For such products, it is important to note that they will not display the CE marking even if the products are subject to the correct GPSD conformity assessment procedure. In this category of products, verifying their compliance can be less intuitive compared to the above-mentioned products. However, the EU has a system in place to record and monitor the circulation of non-compliant products, the Safety Gate portal. By the end of 2024, the new General Product Safety Regulation will replace the current Directive. The GPSR will strengthen product compliance by improving market surveillance and enforcing EU harmonisation legislation, including explicit provisions for online selling, too.
Interestingly, the EU has a regulation dedicated to timber products, to ensure that products are not made from illegally harvested timber and timber products. The Regulation on deforestation-free products will replace the EU Timber Regulation, which would apply, for instance, to real Christmas trees.
Do you want to sell your products in the EU or have questions about regulatory requirements? Write us today!