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Products that resemble foods and appeal to children Potential risks of accidental ingestion

 

About this Publication on Products that resemble foods and appeal to children

  1. Source for this Publication
  2. The Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS)
  3. Background to the SCCS opinion
  4. Specific questions asked by the European Commission to the SCCS

1. Source for this Publication

The texts quoted in Level 3 are directly sourced from  "Opinion on the potential health risks posed by chemical consumer products resembling food and/or having child- appealing properties", an opinion produced in 2011 by the SCCS (Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety) of the European Commission.

Levels 1 & 2 were written by Dr. Marisa Fernandez in collaboration with the editorial team of www.greenfacts.org and the DG Health and Consumers of the European Commission.

This publication is produced by Cogeneris under a contract from the DG Health and Consumers of the European Commission.

2. The Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS)

The SCCS provides opinions on questions concerning all types of health and safety risks (notably chemical, biological, mechanical and other physical risks) of non-food consumer products (for example: cosmetic products and their ingredients, toys, textiles, clothing, personal care and household products such as detergents, etc.) and services (for example: tattooing, artificial sun tanning, etc.).

For further information on the SCCS, see:
http://ec.europa.eu/health/scientific_committees/consumer_safety/index_en.htm 

3. Background to the SCCS opinion

Member States' authorities differ in their safety assessments of Chemical consumer products resembling food and/or having child-appealing properties. Despite several discussions with Member States' experts a common approach could not be found. As a result, on the basis of different assessment elements, Member States continue to adopt different measures to limit the marketing and use to ensure consumer health and safety of these products.

To move towards a harmonised solution in the EU, the Commission considered it necessary to request the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) to provide guidance on the potential health risks that may result after ingestion of Chemical consumer products resembling food and/or having child-appealing properties.

A public consultation on this opinion was opened on the website of the EU non-food Scientific Committees from 20 December 2010 to 11 February 2011. In total, 7 contributions were received from public authorities and other stakeholders. Each submission was reviewed by the Working Group and appropriate modifications were introduced into the opinion to take account of relevant comments. The literature has been updated with relevant publications. The opinion, however, remained essentially unchanged.

The final opinion on  "Opinion on the potential health risks posed by chemical consumer products resembling food and/or having child- appealing properties", was adopted by the SCCS on 22 March 2011.

4. Specific questions asked by the European Commission to the SCCS

The SCCS was asked in its  "Opinion on the potential health risks posed by chemical consumer products resembling food and/or having child- appealing properties" to assess the following, in the light of current scientific data and knowledge:

  1. What are the elements of a product which are likely to increase the probability for confusion with foodstuffs or that make a product more child-appealing? If possible, a ranking of such elements should be given.
  2. What are the inherent properties and attributes of chemical consumer products that may cause or contribute to adverse health effects upon ingestion?
  3. What are the circumstances under which exposure to Chemical consumer products resembling food and/or having child-appealing properties will pose a serious risk to the health and safety of consumers, in particular to children and elderly people, taking into account e.g. volume ingested, taste of the product etc.? In which circumstances may such a risk materialise?
  4. What are the most common adverse health effects observed in humans if such products are ingested?

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