“Shamefully weak”: Product recalls have tripled since 1998

Australia’s product safety law has been slammed as “shamefully weak” and “unacceptable” as new figures revealed recalls have tripled in the past two decades.

According to an analysis by consumer advocate group CHOICE, the number of annual product recalls in Australia have risen from under 200 in 1998 to more than 600 in 2018.

One in four Australian households are exposed to potential hazards from the 6.6 million individual products currently under voluntary recall, new data from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) showed.

Another ACCC figures found that there are 780 deaths and 52,000 injuries per year from consumer products commonly found in Australian homes, ranging from appliances and electronics to baby cots and toys.

CHOICE product safety campaigner Amy Pereira called on the federal government to review the “shamefully weak” laws. 

“Australia has been let down by successive governments over the last two decades who have allowed unsafe products to flood into our homes … that’s millions of unsafe products that should have been stopped before they got to shelves, now in people’s homes,” Pereira said.

“Businesses selling products in Australia have no general obligation to make sure the products they sell are safe.

“Weak product safety laws harm people … Without stronger product safety laws, these unnecessary deaths and injuries will continue.”

In a submission to the Treasury, CHOICE urged the federal government to establish a product safety system that includes clear laws and penalties for breaches.

“With product recall rates skyrocketing in recent years, now is the time to reform,” the group said.

This article originally appeared on Over60.