Do you see the CE Mark?
Added: (Tue Jun 25 2019)
Pressbox (Press Release) -
Alarm bells ring over safety of imported foodservice equipment
Nick Oryino, CESA technical consultant
The CE Mark: itís so ubiquitous itís almost become invisible. And thatís an issue, since on some catering equipment it IS invisible Ė because itís not there. Thereís a worrying trend in the foodservice equipment industry involving importing equipment from the Far East that doesnít have the CE Mark. Safety has to be at the top of every distributorís and foodservice operatorís agenda Ė using equipment that doesnít have the CE Mark should set alarm bells ringing, because it is, quite simply, dangerous. Thatís why the CE Mark is mandatory.
One issue is that distributors and their customers donít necessarily understand what the CE Mark is and what it represents. All commercial catering equipment sold in the EU must comply with all relevant safety Directives. If it does, it can carry the CE Mark. If it doesnít comply, then it canít carry the CE Mark and canít be sold in the European Union.
In all there are some 21 Directives that cover various aspects of catering equipment safety. They include the obvious, such as the Low Voltage Directive (making sure equipment wonít electrocute anyone), the Machinery Safety Directive (ensuring it wonít cut off bits of the body) and the Gas Appliance Regulation (it wonít blow you, or anyone else, up). Then there are slightly less obvious ones, like the Electro Magnetic Compatibility Directive, which is about equipment not damaging other appliances, and the Materials in Contact with Food Directive, which aims to ensure the appliance or product wonít transfer contaminants to food it touches.
Manufacturers have to identify which directives apply to their equipment Ė they often get it checked by a third party (gas equipment HAS to be verified by a third party). Once they are certain everything is in order, they draft a Declaration of Conformity (DoC) following which they can self-declare and put the CE Mark on the equipment.
Of course, the key to all this is what happens if something goes wrong? If the equipment has a CE Mark, then the manufacturer will be held liable and will have to show they had done everything possible to make the appliance safe and that they have the required technical files to demonstrate that this is the case (hence the DoC).
However, if a distributor or operator installs and appliance that doesnít have a CE Mark, and someone gets hurt, then they will be held liable.
So why is this an issue now? Itís increasingly easy to buy products direct from outside the EU. Youíd think most buyers of commercial equipment would be put off by the potential for issues with spare parts and service Ė but a cheap price can be a sore temptation. What they may not realise is that they are compromising the safety not only of their staff but also their customers.
Enforcing compliance of the CE Mark is a huge issue that CESA is lobbying the UK and EU legislators over. For now itís vital to remember that, if you donít see the CE Mark on an appliance, itís not legal, it could be dangerous and if you install it you will be liable if things go wrong. The answer? Donít touch it, not even with an insulated glove.
The Catering Equipment Suppliers Association (CESA) is the authoritative voice of the catering equipment industry, representing over 190 companies who supply, service and maintain all types of commercial catering equipment - from utensils to full kitchen schemes. For more information on CESA visit www.cesa.org.uk
CESA CE Mark Ė Jun-19
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