Obligations of a company when a product poses risks
If a product does not fulfil the legal requirements and poses a risk to health, safety or the environment, the company must:
- Stop selling the product immediately and, if necessary, remove the product from the market, i.e. all stages of the distribution chain.
- Notify Tukes immediately about the product that poses risks and the measures taken concerning the product. Fill in the form, send it to the address kirjaamo (at) tukes.fi, and cooperate with Tukes.
- If the company has exported the product to other EU or EEA countries, submit a notification via the Business Gateway to the authorities of those EU or EEA countries, in which the product that poses the risk has been sold.
In addition, products posing a serious risk must be recalled from consumers and other end users; in addition, the distributors, the consumers who have already bought the product, and other end users must be notified about the issue. A serious risk requires both quick action and follow-up, including in cases, in which the effects do not appear immediately. A recall may apply to products intended for both consumer and professional use.
If the company has a comprehensive customer register available, contacting people individually is the most effective and appropriate way of notifying them about the product recall. If all consumers and end users can be reached individually, other notifications are not needed. If individual contact is not possible, the company must carry out effective public communications.
The most effective channels are those, through which the company can best reach its customers. The effectiveness of the channels varies depending on factors such as which kind of media the company’s customers follow, and what is the target group of the product. Recall notices can be published via the following, among other things:
- digital media
- social media channels
- web pages
- newsletters and other publications
- newspapers, afternoon papers and free newspapers
- hobby and professional magazines.
In principle, notifications of the risk must be published on the company's website and placed in shops where the product has been sold. The notices must be placed in locations, in which they can be seen easily. The notices must be visible for a sufficiently long time. A company, whose products have several retailers, should use their local knowledge in choosing the channels.
The aim of electronic communications is good visibility for the notice so that the reader will notice it easily. In addition, a press release on the recall can be published. If the company cannot define the area, in which the product is sold, the starting point for publishing notices is national coverage. If the product has been sold in bilingual areas, the recall notices must be published in Finnish and Swedish.
Tukes publishes information about non-compliant products in the market surveillance register. The information in the register is public. Tukes notifies the authorities in other countries about dangerous products via the Rapid Alert System. The European Commission publishes the notifications submitted to the Rapid Alert System on its website.
In addition, Tukes reports the information on dangerous products to the ICSMS system of the EU market surveillance authorities; it aims to improve the exchange of information and the level of surveillance in Europe.
Communication plan for implementing a recall
If a recall occurs, it is important for both the safety of people and the reputation of the company to ensure that the recall is carried out quickly and efficiently. A communication plan is an excellent tool to help a company to implement a recall effectively. A well-made communication plan helps the company to implement a recall quickly and comprehensively. The communication plan includes the communication channels, schedule, information provided in the notice and a draft notice, among other things.
In the communication plan, the company can describe how it monitors the realisation of the recall and how effectively the notices reach people. For example, the company can monitor contacts, the number of returned products, website visits, times when the publications on social media have been shared, and interaction over social media channels.
The communication plan lists the key parties, such as the customer service and retailers that are kept up to date of the recall so that they can answer the customers’ questions, if necessary.
Tukes monitors implemented recalls based on the risk. If necessary, Tukes may also give detailed orders on how to notify consumers about product recalls.