Christmas time is synonymous with the buying of presents for our friends, our loved ones and our families.
However, few people probably realise that many of the products we buy, both in Malta and from other EU member states, are marked by the letters ‘CE’. Even if we have seen this mark several times, maybe few realise what it represents.
The ‘CE’ mark has been used by the EU and the Euro Zone, in other words Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein since 1985 and is an abbreviation for the French words ‘Conformité Européenne’.
Many of the products sold in the EU require this mark so that they can be commercialised. In fact this mark indicates that the product which is for sale was evaluated by the manufacturer and is considered as a product which has satisfied all the safety, health, and environmental protection requisites so that it can be sold. However it is important for one to understand that although the products all have the mark ‘CE’, it does to mean that they have been approved as safe by the EU.
One should note that the mark ‘CE’ is not obligatory for all products which are available on the market in the EU. In fact while the manufacturer needs to ensure that his product conforms with all these requirements, they are prohibited from placing the ‘CE’ mark on the products which are not specified in the EU directives.
Some examples of products which the manufacturer does not need to put this mark on are chemical, pharmaceutical and cosmetic products.
The responsibility to declare the product as being in conformity with established requirements for the ‘CE’ mark falls completely on the manufacturer and while he does not need any licence to affix this mark, the first step is to determine whether he can evaluate his own product or whether he needs to involve a particular authority.
What can you do to improve the safety of products on the market?
Here are the three points which can help you ensure the safety of products which you buy for yourself and others:
Buy products from shops or sites which you can rely on to avoid buying products which are not authentic.
Read the instructions and/or the warnings on the product, for example where and how it should be used especially by children.
Report products which are not safe to the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (MCCAA) for action to be taken if necessary. You can contact them on [email protected] or on 2395 2000.
In order to ensure that there are no dangerous products on the market, the European Commission has a system described as Safety Gate (Rapid Alert System for Non-Food Consumer Products), by means of which Member States share information on products which can be of danger to European consumers and thereby take action, such as when products are withdrawn from the market.
For more information about the ‘CE’ mark, one can contact MEUSAC on [email protected] or phone on 2200 3300.
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