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FDA Compliance

ISO Starts Work on Consumer Products Safety Standard

Provides guidance to all parties involved in the consumer product supply chain

Published: Wednesday, December 2, 2009 - 09:40

(ISO: Geneva) -- An international standard to prevent the development and marketing of products which could present health and safety risks to consumers is the goal of a new project committee (PC) from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The “ISO/PC 243 Consumer product safety” met for the first time in Toronto, Canada.

The projected standard will offer practical guidance to suppliers of consumer goods so that they can reduce risks associated with their products. It will thus increase consumer confidence while promoting trade and competitiveness.

Currently 23 countries are involved in the work of the ISO/PC 243 and more than 20 experts from Australia, Canada, China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea actively participated in the first meeting.

The scope of the standard was among the key issues discussed. In particular, participants looked at defining what constitutes a “consumer product” and whether goods such as tobacco, food, and medicine should be included or excluded.

It was suggested that the standard be developed with a wide and flexible scope in mind.

“Governments that adopt or reference the future standard in their regulation will be in a better position to define which products it should apply to, depending on each country’s situation and existing regulation,” says Elizabeth Nielsen, chair of ISO/PC 243.

ISO/PC 243 was established following an initiative from the working group of the ISO Committee on consumer policy (ISO/COPOLCO) which aims to reduce risks related to consumer products. According to the proposal, injury statistics in Europe, North America, and Pacific countries indicate that design problems, malfunctions, and inadequate safety information for consumer products are associated with many unintentional injuries. An international standard would provide universally applicable guidance and practical tools to identify, assess, and eliminate or reduce potential safety risks so that they can be addressed before the products enter the market.

The future standard is expected to provide guidance to all parties involved in the consumer product supply chain (designers, manufacturers, importers, distributors, retailers, etc.). It should result in fewer preventable injuries, promote consumer confidence, provide an international benchmark to facilitate access to international markets, serve as an adjunct to regulatory approaches, offer a systems approach to product safety, level the playing field, educate suppliers, and more.



About The Author

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The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is the world’s largest developer and publisher of international standards. ISO is a network of the national standards institutes of 162 countries, one member per country, with a Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, that coordinates the system. ISO is a nongovernmental organization that forms a bridge between the public and private sectors. ISO enables a consensus to be reached on solutions that meet both the requirements of business and the broader needs of society. View the ISO Standards list.