Fake toys have topped the list of concerns presented within a European report warning consumers about dangerous goods and products across the region.
A total of 655 public alerts for toys were submitted on the Europe-wide warning system known as the EU Safety Gate last year, with toys from illegal traders appearing most often on the platform. This represents 30 per cent of all products flagged by EU member states.
The findings have prompted a warning from Toy Industries Europe that illegal toy traders are damaging the reputation of established companies in the toy space, stating that the vast majority of toys sold across the EU are made responsibly.
The organisation has also stated that sub-standard products represent ‘a tiny fraction of the toys available across Europe.’
Approximately, two in five of the 709 toys that were flagged last year did not even identify the maker. This is a basic obligation under the EU’s strict toy safety rules, as authorities need to be able to easily the manufacturer if a recall or changes to the product are necessary.
96 per cent of alerts for toys were related to manufactures with no connection to any European toy associations, a large part of which were ‘ghost’ companies that cannot be traced. This, the TIE has said, shows how important it is for authorities to work intelligently and adapt their methods to people who clearly have no intention of following the rules.
The TIE has also urged reputable companies to demonstrate their responsibility to safety by becoming part of toy associations like TIE and its national association members. This gives companies who want to do the right thing access to expert advice and training and helps to raise standards across the board.
On top of this, a statement put out by TIE has placed greater pressure on online platforms to take more responsibility for the toys they sell, and why the Safety Gate system should have a mandatory field that ‘identifies where the toy was bought to identify how the toy has made it to market.’
‘It’s clear that the work that the EU, and its members, does in stopping unsafe products from entering the market is vital. It protects consumers from potential harm and it protects reputable businesses, who invest in safety, from the unfair competition caused by dishonest traders ignoring the rules for profit,’ read a statement from TIE.
Catherine Van Reeth, director general of Toy Industries of Europe, said: “TIE members are reputable companies who prioritise the safety of the toys they make to help children play safely. Authorities have to work intelligently to keep toys from dishonest traders off the market. This means focusing on catching the criminals who intentionally ignore the rules for profit and in doing so put children at risk and making sure they face more serious penalties.”