Product safety

The safety of all consumer products, whether they are sold as new or second-hand, is controlled by regulations.

Consumer advice is available by calling 0808 223 1133.

This includes making complaints about a trader, product, or to report a scam. This service is provided on our behalf by the Citizens Advice service and they will pass details of enforcement issues to us.

Our officers visit shops to inspect goods and take samples for testing to ensure that items are safe.

We visit manufacturers and importers to discuss the safety of their products, giving guidance on how items are presented and any instructions that may be needed for safe use.

We also visit car boot sales, Sunday markets and one-day sales and are always alert to the problems of traders selling unsafe goods from door to door.

Frequently asked questions

I want to import products directly rather than using a wholesaler. What do I need to watch out for?

Product safety is a complex area and so we would encourage you to contact us for specific advice on individual products.

I want to make and sell soap and other toiletries. What are the rules about testing and labelling?

All cosmetic products supplied in the UK, whether for consumer or professional use, must comply with the Cosmetic Product (Safety) Regulations 2008.

You should also consider the food imitation regulations, which outline the requirements all companies must meet when placing non-food items that look like food onto the European market.

Detailed advice is available from the business advice team.

I make simple wooden toys, which I sell at craft markets. Do I need to have them tested?

No, but you do need to make sure they are safe.

Usually, hand-made wooden toys are safe as each one is carefully made and all splinters and rough edges are smoothed away. Some simple wooden vehicles were shown to be unsafe in the past because the wheels could easily be removed and young children could choke on them. You may need to have the wheels tested. You will also need to make sure that any paints and varnishes are suitable for use on toys.

The Toy Safety Directive provides a common standard for the safety of toys throughout the whole of the European economic area. All toys sold within the area must meet the requirements of the directive, and may be sold without further local controls as long as they are legitimately CE marked.

My business imports and manufactures products for sale in Great Britain that have the CE mark on them, I have heard there are some changes and a new UKCA marking, what do I need to do?

New rules are in place which cover many regulatory areas, including how Great Britain  trades with the EU.

There are some changes regarding placing imported and manufactured goods on the market in Great Britain which will replace the CE marking on certain goods with a the new UKCA marking.

Key changes to product safety markings are already in place, with the CE marking being gradually replaced by a new UKCA mark for products being sold in Great Britain. The UKCA mark must be used from 1 January 2023. 

You can check whether you need to use the new UKCA marking and obtain more information by visiting the UKCA marking page on the GOV.UK website.

Business Companion is a free-to-use website which provides information for businesses and individuals that need to know about trading standards and consumer protection legislation. The advice covers a wide range of topics and has been updated to reflect changes to legislation following UK’s departure from the EU.

Contact Trading Standards

For Trading Standards business advice, please contact Trading Standards and we will be happy to help.