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CU proposal: Protect consumers from imports

Monday, October 01, 2007

Consumers Union Urges Strong Actions Before President’s Interagency Hazardous Imports Group;
Offers Plan to Restore Consumer Confidence in the Marketplace

Washington, DC—Consumers Union, nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, today offered a proposal to help protect consumers from hazardous imports and restore confidence in the marketplace. In a presentation before the President’s Interagency Working Group on Hazardous Imports, CU offered eight suggestions to hold importers, distributors, retailers, and federal agencies more accountable.
“Our government agencies must better police foreign-made goods to protect American consumers, but also to ensure consumers retain confidence in the marketplace,” according to Donald Mays, Senior Director of Product Safety Planning and Technical Administration for CU. “We understand the challenges of ensuring that all the products in the $2 trillion import business are safe for consumer use. However, we believe that a multifaceted approach for dealing with current product safety crises can significantly reduce risks to consumers,” added Mays.
In a statement before the Interagency Working Group, Mays outlined a plan to help ensure imported products are safe. In addition to calling for more tools and resources to increase government inspections, the plan also proposes that some inspections and testing occur overseas prior to shipment. CU also urges the creation of a U.S.-based safety certification program for all products, and a traceability program for food and consumer products to hold producers, importers, distributors, and retailers, more accountable. Finally, CU favors requiring importers to post bonds to ensure sufficient resources are available should a recall of a product be necessary.
“The number of foreign-made products being recalled in the last five years has doubled. Clearly, we need to find a better way of preventing unsafe products from crossing our borders and ending up in the homes of consumers,” added Mays.
For a complete copy of the statement, click here.

Jennifer Fuson, 202-462-6262