When food supplements purchased from distant lands contains designer drugs or a charger burns down the house, the buyer is responsible
Finnish authorities and other organisations campaign widely for safe online shopping. In recent years, consumer shopping at online shops located in distant lands has increased heavily, and Finnish Customs has filled up with small packages. At worst, these purchases can be “dangerous trash” according to the observations of the authorities. The campaign also wants to make consumers aware of their own responsibility: if you buy items directly from outside the EU, you are also responsible for the safety of the products.
The actor Ville Myllyrinne is the face of the campaign. In the video spots, he plays a seller who sells food supplements to make testicles shrink and shrivel and mobile phone chargers to burn down houses. You are unlikely to see such a seller or offer in a brick-and-mortar shop. The spots starring Myllyrinne can be seen on the channels of the Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle as societal advertising, as well as on the social media channels of the campaign participants. For social media channels, the campaign organisations have also created memes with a sprinkling of dark humour that describe the worst-case scenarios the dangerous products may cause.
“Online shops also sell good and safe products. When consumers buy products from online shops all over the world, they need new kinds of skills and competence first and foremost. Consumers themselves must make sure that the product is safe and suitable for its purpose, and that importing it into Finland is legal,” says Tuiri Kerttula, Director of Product and Installations Surveillance at the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes).
The EU sets strict requirements on the safety of cosmetics, toys, health care equipment and electrical appliances, for example, as well as the substances contained by foodstuffs, medicines and chemicals. When consumers themselves buy products directly from outside the EU, these requirements may not be fulfilled. The authorities are aware of cases of a charger purchased from distant lands causing a violent fire, a food supplement containing a designer drug, cosmetics causing severe allergic reactions, and consumers purchasing chemicals, the sale and use of which is prohibited in the EU for safety reasons.
The campaign aims to provide online shoppers with tools for choosing safer products online. Tips on what online shoppers should take into account when purchasing items have been collected on the campaign site www.omallavastuulla.fi, arranged by product group.
In addition to safety, the campaign also reminds people that unnecessary online purchases may also contain harmful chemicals that increase the load on the environment.
Participants in the campaign include the Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira, the European Consumer Centre, the Finnish Commerce Federation, the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA), the Finnish Transport Safety Agency (Trafi), the Finnish Medicines Agency Fimea, the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira), the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK), the Finnish Cosmetic, Toiletry and Detergent Association, Finnish Customs, the Association of Products and Services Trade ETU, the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes), and the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA).
Campaign website www.omallavastuulla.fi
Follow the discussion on online channels: #omallavastuulla
‘Omalla vastuulla’ (At your own risk) campaign materials, Communications Specialist Heta Kylmämaa, Tukes, tel. +358 29 5052 172, [email protected]
‘Omalla vastuulla’ (At your own risk) videos
Food supplements: https://youtu.be/vNrg6cArI8A
‘Omalla vastuulla’ (At your own risk) social media memes:
Online safety contact list for the media
Foodstuffs and food supplements/Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira
Marketing of foodstuffs: Senior Officer Marjo Misikangas, tel. +358 50 462 4078
Food supplements, weight loss products: Senior Officer Anna Mizrahi, tel. +358 50 434 2203
Developing the monitoring of distance selling: Senior Officer Sari Sippola, tel. +358 50 386 8430
Email format: [email protected]
Cosmetics safety/The Finnish Cosmetic, Toiletry and Detergent Association
Technical and Regulatory Affairs Manager Eeva-Mari Karine, +358 50 338 4236, eeva-mari.kari[email protected]
Senior Officer Anna Vuori +358 29 5052 035, [email protected]
Wireless equipment/Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA)
Radio Inspection Specialist Milla Kuokkanen, +358 29 5390 354, [email protected]
Laser equipment, radiation equipment in beauty care, ultraviolet radiation, solarium/Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK)
Senior Scientist Lasse Ylianttila tel. +358 9 759 88 455
Media service of the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority: +358 10 850 4761
Medicines/Finnish Medicines Agency Fimea
Counterfeit medicines and online sale of medicines: Senior Pharmaceutical Inspector Sami Paaskoski, [email protected] and +358 29 5223237
The Finnish Commerce Federation
Studies and reports on online shopping: Jaana Kurjenoja, Chief Economist, VTT,
+358 40 820 5378, jaana.kurjenoja(at)kauppa.fi
Legislation and regulations on distance selling: Janne Koivisto, Chief Policy Adviser, EU Affairs, LL.M.,
+358 50 321 3639, janne.koivisto(at)kauppa.fi
Product safety: Terhi Kuljukka-Rabb, Chief Policy Adviser, chemical affairs, PhD,
+358 50 300 3263, terhi.kuljukka-rabb(at)kauppa.fi