MEP backs "reverse proof" safety measures

A leading MEP has added her voice to the toy safety debate, putting increased onus on toy manufacturers.
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Toy suppliers should have to demonstrate that their products are safe before they are put on the market, according to ALDE MEP Karin Riis-Jorgensen.

The Dane supports what she describes as the "reverse burden of proof", which means that toy producers should be compelled to prove that their products are safe.

"More and more toys on the market contain dangerous substances and do not fulfil EU standards," said Riis-Jorgensen.

"Up to 80 per cent of these toys are produced in China and although Chinese companies are striving to improve standards a lot still has to be done," she said.

"As well as the ´reverse burden of proof´ idea, I believe there should be very robust market surveillance and acknowledgement of parental responsibility."

Her comments were echoed by Frank Martin, CEO of Hornby. He said manufacturers which fail to meet required standards should face "clear and painful" consequences.

Martin said he was against any "heavy handed" legislation or anything which would result in a "concentration of power" for a small number of larger manufacturers.

He told a sofety conference "The industry, generally, is good at regulating itself but, even so, there are, of course, some transgressors.

"I would like to see robust and active enforcement of any EU-wide toy safety legislation and clear and painful consequences for wilful non-compliance."

The conference, at the Sofitel hotel in Brussels, was organised by Toy Industries in Europe (TIE) and drew a wide range of experts and representatives from the EU, including Meglena Kuneva, the commissioner responsible for consumer policy.
One of the main topics of debate was the revision of the toy safety directive, the result of several years of discussion between key stakeholders.

The conference was told that the new proposal will raise "many challenges" for the industry, in particular when it comes to its implementation.

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