Product safety has been largely regulated through EU harmonised law (legislation that applies throughout the EU as a whole), which covers about 70% of products on the market.
For non-harmonised products, the relevant legislation is the General Product Safety Directive, which sets down a requirement that all non-food consumer products be safe.
Only safe products may be placed on the EU market. Market Surveillance Authorities (MSA) are responsible for ensuring product safety at a national level. For a list of MSA and the areas for which they have responsibility, see this link: Irish MSA bodies (PDF format). MSA operate with the powers outlined in Regulation (EC) No. 765/2008, which sets down rules on accreditation (see Irish National Accreditation Board) and market surveillance. Further information on product safety sectors is available here.
The EU Commission requires all Member States to set out targets for market surveillance every year – this is the 2016 programme for Ireland.
The Market Surveillance Forum was set up in 2009 and has representatives from all MSA. It meets regularly to discuss market surveillance issues and to coordinate a national response to EU market surveillance issues.
Notified Body Procedure
This Department is the Notifying Authority for a number of EU directives and prospective notified bodies are asked to follow the procedure set out in the procedure for the appointment of a Notified Body document in order to apply for notified body status.
Products that do not fall under EU harmonised law but are lawfully marketed in one of the EU Member States should be allowed to be sold in any other Member State. If a Member State wants to use national technical rules to prevent this (for reasons of e.g. public safety, public health or environmental concerns) then it has to abide by the procedure set out in
Regulation (EC) No. 764/2008. Under this Regulation, Member States have to set up Product Contact Points to provide information on national technical rules – the NSAI is the Irish product contact point.
Product Safety and Customs
Customs authorities play a vital role in ensuring unsafe or non-compliant products are not imported from third countries and placed on the EU market. In order to perform adequate checks on such products the Irish Customs authority co-operates closely with MSA and abides by EU guidelines.
For more information regarding Customs procedures contact:
St Conlon’s Road
Tel: (067) 63353
For more information regarding MSA and market surveillance contact:
Consumer Policy Section
Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation
Lower Hatch Street
Tel: (01) 631 2625