Trading Standards news

Trading Standards news

On this page the primary aim is to update and make aware both businesses and consumers of new developments that impact on both these groups.

Avian Flu

H5N1 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza was confirmed in birds near Blaydon, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear  on the 23 February 2022. A 3km Protection Zone and a 10km Surveillance Zone was put in place around the premises. This disease control zone has now been lifted

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N1 was confirmed in birds at premises near Byker, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Tyne & Wear on the 25 January 2022. A 3km Protection Zone and 10km Surveillance Zone were put in place around the premises. This disease control zone has now been lifted. 

If your livestock show any signs of disease, you must report your suspicions to APHA immediately by telephoning 03000 200 301

Poultry includes for example chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese, pigeon (bred for meat), partridge, quail, guinea fowl and pheasants.

Captive birds are any birds kept in captivity, other than poultry, and includes for example – pet birds, birds kept for shows, races, exhibitions, competitions, breeding or sale.

If you find dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, you should report them to the Defra helpline (03459 33 55 77).

All bird keepers (whether you have pet birds, commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard flock) must keep a close watch on them for signs of disease and maintain good biosecurity at all times. If you have any concerns about the health of your birds, seek prompt advice from your vet.

You should register your poultry, even if only kept as pets, so we can contact you during an outbreak. This is a legal requirement if you have 50 or more birds. Poultry includes chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese, pigeon (bred for meat), partridge, quail, guinea fowl and pheasants.

For further information go to Gov.uk

Unleaded Petrol

From the 1 September 2021, the standard (95 octane) petrol grade in Great Britain became E10. Diesel fuel will not be changing.

Almost all (95%) petrol-powered vehicles on the road today can use E10 petrol and all cars built since 2011 are compatible.

If your petrol vehicle or equipment is not compatible with E10 fuel, you will still be able to use E5 by purchasing the ‘super’ grade (97+ octane) petrol from most petrol stations. Petrol pumps will clearly label petrol as either E10 or E5.

Measures to support the transition to UKCA

The Government has announced plans to introduce measures to further support businesses transitioning to UKCA marking.  The Government intends to:

  • reduce re-testing costs for UKCA certification, by allowing conformity assessment activities for CE marking completed by the 31 December 2022 to be used by manufacturers as the basis for applying a UKCA marking. This will reduce the immediate costs faced by manufacturers and will be valid until the expiry of their certificate or for 5 years (31 December 2027), whichever is sooner. 

  • make clear there is no need to re-test existing imported stock, as these products will be considered already placed on the market In Great Britain (GB). This will prevent the costly, and unnecessary re-labelling of existing stock for businesses. 

  • make clear that spare parts that repair, replace or maintain goods already on the GB market can meet the same requirements that were in place at the time the original product or system was placed on the GB market. This will allow products and goods requiring spare parts to continue to be maintained. 

  • continue to allow businesses to affix the UKCA marking, and to include importer information for products from EEA countries (and in some cases Switzerland), on an accompanying document or label until 31 December 2025. This will allow business to adjust their product design to accommodate marking changes at a convenient and cost-effective time.

These changes do not apply to medical devices, construction products, transportable pressure equipment, cableways, unmanned aircraft systems, rail products and marine equipment.

Updated guidance on these changes can be found on GOV.UK: Using the UKCA marking and Placing manufactured goods on the market in GB.  Legislation will be brought forward where required to enable these changes.

Changes to toys and cosmetics legislation

The first statutory instrument amending the UK toys and cosmetics regulations has been laid before Parliament.  The Toys and Cosmetic Products (Restriction of Chemical Substances) Regulations 2022 make changes to the toy and cosmetic regulations annexes, either entailing an amendment to the permitted level or the prohibition of specific chemicals in toys and cosmetic products.  The changes in respect of CMRs in cosmetics and fragrance allergens in toys are due to come into effect on 15 October, and changes in respect of chemicals assessed by the Scientific Advisory Group on Chemical Safety come into force on 15 December 2022.

You can find out further information by reading the Planned changes to toys and cosmetics regulations GOV.UK news article.

Construction Products

On the 19 January 2021 the Government announced that the Office for Product Safety and Standards will be the new regulator for the safety of construction products. Go to Gov.uk

NAO Product Safety Report

On the 16 June 2021 the National Audit Office published a report on the product safety regime. To see a copy of the full report go to Report (pdf 1.3 Mb) 

NHS Concerns on Magnetic Products

The NHS has expressed serious concerns about the safety of certain magnetic products. A potentially life threatening TikTok trend, involving tiny magnets that can be easily swallowed, has triggered the NHS to call for a ban.

These tiny magnetic balls are widely sold as creative toys, with a recent TikTok craze seeing them used as fake facial piercings by teenagers.

The viral prank sees people place two magnetic balls either side of their tongue and wiggle it around, creating the illusion that their piercing is real.

The NHS issued a patient safety alert after at least 65 children were admitted to hospital for urgent surgery in the last three years after swallowing magnets.

The magnetic objects are forced together in the intestines or bowels, squeezing the tissue so that the blood supply is cut off. Ingesting more than one can be life-threatening and cause significant damage within hours.

For more information go to NHS 

New Legislation

    1. The Toys and Cosmetic Products (Restriction of Chemical Substances) Regulations 2022 (SI 2022 No. 659 this is the first statutory instrument amending the UK toys and cosmetics regulations has been laid before Parliament.  It makes changes to the toy and cosmetic regulations annexes, either entailing an amendment to the permitted level or the prohibition of specific chemicals in toys and cosmetic products.  The changes in respect of CMRs in cosmetics and fragrance allergens in toys are due to come into effect on 15 October 2022, and changes in respect of chemicals assessed by the Scientific Advisory Group on Chemical Safety come into force on 15 December 2022.

    You can find out further information by reading the Planned changes to toys and cosmetics regulations GOV.UK news article.

    2. The Food (Promotion and Placement (England) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021 No.1368)  were planned to come into force on the 1 October 2022. On the 14 May 2022 the Government announced that the full implementation of the regulations will be delayed in light of the unprecedented global economic situation and in order to give industry more time to prepare for the restrictions on advertising.

    • Rules limiting the location of unhealthy foods in shops will go ahead as planned in October 2022.

    • Rules banning multibuy deals on foods and drinks high in fat, salt, or sugar (HFSS) – including buy one get one free (BOGOF), ‘3 for 2’, and restrictions on free refills for soft drinks – will be delayed for a year.

    • Restrictions on the placement of less healthy products – a key part of the government’s commitment to reduce obesity – will still come into force in October 2022 as planned. These will mean less healthy products are no longer promoted in key locations, such as checkouts, store entrances, aisle ends and their online equivalents.

    Further guidance can be found at Gov.uk 

    3. Offensive Weapons Act 2019. The provisions of this Act commenced on the 6 April 2022.  The provisions include the implementation of new criminal offences for selling corrosive substances to those under 18, possessing a corrosive substance in a public place and in relation to bladed articles. 

    4. The Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Act 2021 C19 came into force on the 1 October 2021. The Act means that a “business owner” commits an offence if in the course of the business owner's business— a person other than an approved person administers, in England, to another person (“A”)— (i) botulinum toxin, or (ii) a subcutaneous, submucous or intradermal injection of a filler for a cosmetic purpose, where A is under the age of 18. To access the guidance go to Gov.uk

    5. The Air Quality (Domestic Solid Fuels Standards) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 1095). legislates to now make: 

    • Sales of bagged traditional house coal and wet wood in units under 2m3 unlawful.

    • Wet wood in larger volumes must be sold with advice on how to dry it before burning.

    • All manufactured solid fuels must now have a low sulphur content and only emit a small amount of smoke.

    • In addition, a new certification scheme will see products certified and labelled by suppliers to ensure that they can be easily identified, and retail outlets will only able to sell fuel that is accompanied by the correct label.

     For further related guidance go to Gov.uk

    6. The Environmental Protection (Plastic Straws, Cotton Buds and Stirrers) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 971).

    These Regulations, which apply in relation to England, prohibit persons from supplying or offering to supply certain plastic items in the course of a business. The prohibitions now apply, except for the prohibition of the supply of drinks products with single-use plastic straws attached to their packaging, which applies from 3 July 2021.

    Part 2 prohibits the supply of single-use plastic straws to an end user, subject to certain exceptions. The exceptions include the supply of straws by registered pharmacies, the supply of straws by a catering establishment together with food or drink for immediate consumption, and the supply of straws which are medical devices or are for use for medical purposes. Part 2 also prohibits the supply of drinks products with single-use plastic straws attached to their packaging, subject to an exception for medical purposes.

    Part 3 prohibits the supply of single-use plastic stemmed cotton buds to an end user, other than for medical, forensic or scientific purposes.

    Part 4 prohibits the supply of plastic drink stirrers.

    To see the Government guidance on the new Regulations go to Gov.uk.

    7. The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 SI 2019 No.1093, (known as "Lucy's Law" see Gov.uk) was implemented on the 6 April 2020.

    Regulation 2 amends a licence condition relating to the activity of selling animals as pets (or with a view to being resold as pets). The amendment precludes the sale of puppies and kittens bred by anyone other than the licence holder. Regulation 3 makes transitional provision for existing licences to be treated, in relation to sales made on or after 6 April 2020, as subject to a condition in the terms set out in regulation 2.

    8. The Food Information (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2019 SI 2019 No.1218. From the 1 October 2021, the manner in which food businesses must provide allergen labelling information for Prepacked for Direct Sale (PPDS) food will change. On that date, PPDS food will need to have a label with a full ingredients list with allergenic ingredients emphasised within it. For more information go to the FSA website. 

    9. Tenant Fees Act 2019. This Act came into force on the 1 June 2019.

    The only payments that landlords can charge in connection with a tenancy are:

    • the rent

    • a refundable tenancy deposit capped at no more than five week's rent where the annual rent is less than £50,000, or six weeks rent where the total annual rent is £50,000 or above

    • a refundable holding deposit (to reserve a property) capped at no more than one week's rent

    • payments to change the tenancy when requested by the tenant, capped at £50, or reasonable costs incurred if higher

    • payments associated with early termination of the tenancy, when requested by the tenant

    • payments in respect of utilities, communication services, TV licence and council tax; and

    • A default payment for late payment of rent and replacement of a lost key/security device, where required under a tenancy agreement.

    All other fees are now prohibited payments and are not legal. Go to Guidance for the private rented sector 

    Which? Policy Report on Online Marketplaces and Product Safety

    Product testing by Which? has found a succession of unsafe products for sale on online marketplaces in recent years. This includes toxic levels of chemicals in children’s toys; child car seats that are illegal to use in the UK; smoke and carbon monoxide alarms that do not work, and USB chargers that pose a fire or electrocution risk.

    With over 90% of people now using online marketplaces to buy an increasingly wide range of consumer goods, these sites are no longer novel ways of shopping but normal practice for millions of people.

    The report (pdf 250 kb) sets out the need for action to strengthen the legal responsibilities of online marketplaces and ensure that public authorities have adequate powers, tools and resources to require action from marketplaces when people are put at risk. Specifically, they are calling for a number of actions in relation to the following so that people can be confident they are only buying safe products:

    • Online marketplaces should be required to ensure that consumer products offered for sale by sellers on their sites are safe.

    • The actions that are required by online marketplaces when unsafe products are identified should be clarified.

    • Equip enforcement officers with appropriate powers and resources to police online marketplaces.

    • There should be greater transparency obligations so that consumers are clear who they are buying from.

    Petitions Committee Fireworks Report 2019

    On the 5 November 2019 the House of Commons Petitions Committee published its report on Fireworks (pdf 1.2 mb).  The Committee expressed the view 'that the Government has so far failed to act in response to legitimate concerns about fireworks expressed through the e-petitions system. People rightly expect the Government to listen to them, take their concerns, and act.

    The Khan review: making smoking obsolete

    The independent review by Dr Javed Khan OBE into the government’s ambition to make England smokefree by 2030 was published on the 9 June 2022.

    This review was commissioned by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and it provides independent, evidence-based advice that will inform the government’s approach to reduce the numbers of people taking up smoking and helping smokers to quit.

    The review makes 15 recommendations for government to achieve a smokefree society. This includes 4 critical recommendations:

    1. Urgently invest £125 million per year in a comprehensive smokefree 2030 programme. Options to fund this include a ‘polluter pays’ levy.

    2. Increase the age of sale by one year, every year.

    3. Offer vaping as a substitute for smoking, alongside accurate information on the benefits of switching, including to healthcare professionals.

    4. For the NHS to prioritise further action to stop people from smoking, by providing support and treatment across all of its services, including primary care.

    For further detail go to Gov.uk

    Newsletter

    The service aims to publish a newsletter on a bi-annual basis. To access a copy of our newsletter go to High Standard (pdf 924 kb). 

    Contact

    Trading Standards service, Directorate of Operations and Regulatory Services, Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH. Email: tradingstandards@newcastle.gov.uk  

     

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