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Substandard face masks taken off the market by Ealing Council

Thu 30 Apr 2020
More than half a million substandard face masks and thousands of bottles of illegal hand-sanitisers have been seized by Ealing Council to protect residents from ineffective and unsafe products.

The council’s trading standards team carried out inspections of importers based in Southall on 20 April 2020 and seized more than 60,000 substandard face masks.

The masks were of such poor quality that some fell apart during the inspection. The items did not match the description on the packaging and lacked proper documentation from the importer.

The items also displayed a false "CE" certification logo giving the impression that they had been CE certified approved. There were also no importers details on the items, making it impossible to accurately trace where they had come from.

At another premises, officers discovered a further 454,500 face masks suspected of failing to meet legal standards. These face masks were removed from the supply chain until their compliance with safety standards could be established.

One of the safety certificate supplied with the masks was proven to be fake and further investigations are ongoing.

Officers also seized approximately 2,600 bottles of hand sanitiser which did not comply with the law and had no importer details provided.

Following these inspections, the council is currently carrying out criminal investigations.

Masks and sanitisers are in great demand during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Such poor-quality, substandard items may not be effective and may not provide protection – putting users in danger of harm from substandard materials or unknown ingredients.

Councillor Joanna Camadoo-Rothwell, cabinet member for community safety and inclusion said: "It is sad that a small minority of irresponsible businesses show a total disregard for the wellbeing of consumers and are seeking to exploit the current pandemic for personal gain."

"Fortunately, we were able to intercept these products before they were released on to the market as clearly, they had not been put through any safety testing and might give users a false sense of protection."

"We will remain vigilant and work hard to prevent members of the public from being scammed by unscrupulous traders who want to capitalise on the current situation."

"We will prosecute anyone found selling these illegal items as part of our commitment to making Ealing safer."

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