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ISO standard on recall of unsafe products

15 June 2009

The first meeting of the ISO project committee that will develop an International Standard providing a code of good practice for establishing, implementing and managing efficient, flexible and responsive consumer product recall programmes, took place in May 2009, in Malaysia.

First step for ISO standard on recall of unsafe products
First step for ISO standard on recall of unsafe products

ISO/PC 240, decided on a publication target of 2012 for the standard (ISO 10393).

ISO/PC 240 also resolved to harmonise efforts with other ISO committees developing standards for consumer product safety (ISO/PC 243), anti-counterfeiting (ISO/PC 246) and combating fraud (ISO/TC 247).
The committee extended a call for interested parties wishing to participate (through the ISO member of their respective country). Currently, about 12 countries participate in ISO/PC 240, and an additional four have observer status. Among its members, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Republic of Korea and South Africa were present at the first meeting.

ISO/PC 240, Product recall was established following an initiative of ISO/COPOLCO, the ISO Committee on consumer policy, which noted that ineffective product recalls of damaged or unsafe products have resulted in millions of people being injured – sometimes fatally – or becoming ill.

“A market-oriented International Standard on product recall will help to protect consumers and users from fatalities, injuries and financial loss caused by flawed products, but it will also help businesses to save time and money and reduce related legal risks” said the Canadian representative, Mr. Doug Geralde, Director of Corporate Audits and Investigations, Canadian Standards Association.

“This standard is particularly relevant in today’s market context where products routinely cross borders, but uneven and inconsistent approaches in policies and procedures pose significant challenges for global recalls,” Geralde added.

The International Standard will help organisations to plan and execute timely and cost effective product recalls following design flaws, manufacturing defects, or inadequate warning labels or instructions – whether the products are still in the manufacturer’s or distributor’s inventory or retail shelves or in the hands of consumers. It will also provide guidance on corrective actions, including repair, placement, re-purchase and public notice, helping organisations to minimise legal risks, and contributing to customer satisfaction and loyalty.

The work of ISO/PC 240 will apply to consumer products, including electrical and gas household appliances. The projected standard will be useful for manufacturers, retailers, importers, testing organisations, providers of third party recall services, legal firms, government regulators and consumers/safety organisations.

The Kuala Lumpur meeting was hosted by the Department of Standards Malaysia (DSM), ISO member for the country, who provides the secretariat of the committee. ISO/PC 240’s next meeting will be held in November 2009.

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