JA2010 - Food Imitation Products

The presence of food imitation child-appealing products may give rise to serious risks for children that confuse them with food. Two main risks are associated with such products, small parts and ingestion of substances such as shampoos that are mistaken for food products.

The primary objective of the action was to remove from the EU market dangerous food imitation products in respect of which a high or serious risk has been demonstrated by a specific risk assessment.

A secondary objective was to raise the awareness within the Member States for the need for increased harmonisation in the evaluation of food imitation products.

The following countries were involved in the project: Austria, Cyprus, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic. In addition Bosnia and Herzegovina and Turkey participated as observers outside the financial scheme.

An important part of the joint action was the testing of a number of food imitation products. Taking into consideration Council Directive 87/357/EEC of 25 June 1987 concerning products which, appearing to be other than they are, endanger the health or safety of consumers, the purpose of the testing was to clarify whether chemicals were part of the investigated products and if such products are unsafe enough and contain substances that may cause poisoning or chemical pneumonia if ingested, and may need that the authorities will take prior action against them.

The Action has contributed to a better understanding of the risks presented by these products and this is seen in the decline in RAPEX notifications made following the implementation of the Action. In some instances better enforcement does not result in more notifications but rather in notifications being made on a more objective basis.