Stericycle Index reveals 60% of all EU consumer product recalls last quarter originated in China and Hong Kong

Stericycle ExpertSOLUTIONSÔ, a global leader in product recall management, today released its Q3 2015 Index, which shows an overwhelming 60% of all consumer product recalls in Europe concerned goods that were made in China and Hong Kong. This figure reveals an alarming trend in recall repeat offenders with both areas accounting for at least 54 per cent of consumer product recalls over the last five years. No other country exceeded 4%.

The Q3 Index, based on data from the EU’s RAPEX and RASFF rapid alert systems, reports a total of 997 recalls this quarter, a 14% drop from Q2. Of these, 407 were non-food related recalls in Q3. The top five countries of origin break down as follows:

  • China – 241
  • Germany – 22
  • USA – 13
  • Turkey – 11
  • Japan – 8

As European consumers start their massive spend on Christmas shopping, the report also shows that during Q3 almost 90% of recalled toys and 80% of recalled electrical appliances and jewellery originated in China.

Toy trouble

Toy product recalls increased by 8% during Q3, and made up the leading consumer product category with 122 recalls. These events ranged from baby rattles and wooden puzzles to dolls and toy guns. Ninety-three per cent of the toys recalled represented a serious risk, with hazardous chemicals causing particular concern. Toys are strictly regulated to protect children from hazards and safety issues, however, despite stringent standards and thorough tests, flaws in design and materials still occur.

“Awareness of toy safety is particularly heightened at this time of year, when consumers expect the products they buy for children to be safe,” said Farzad Henareh, Stericycle ExpertSOLUTIONS European vice president.

China’s rapid growth

To put these figures into context, it is important to understand the contribution that China and other countries in Southeast Asia make to the manufacturing of products. According to data compiled by The Economist, 80% of the world’s air conditioners, 70% of mobile phones and 60% of shoes are manufactured in China alone. Add other countries in the region and it is easy to see how more than half of the world’s products come from Southeast Asia.

“These statistics make it all the more important for companies who are sourcing products and materials from this region to establish stringent levels of scrutiny, to remain vigilant and to ensure that regulations are met,” said Henareh. “The European Commission and European Union Member States are already working together with Chinese authorities on a Rapid Alert System for China, with a goal towards improved safety and communication sooner rather than later.” For access to the full Q3 2015 Index, please download the report here.