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Explosive cookers kept under lid

CHOICE investigation reveals gap in Australia's product safety recall system

20 December 2017

Consumer group CHOICE is calling for Australia's product safety recall system to be changed after it uncovered the low recall rates for a potentially explosive pressure cooker which left six people in hospital.

"These six people suffered serious burns because of the faulty Crofton Chef's Collection pressure cookers sold by Aldi Australia," says CHOICE Head of Campaigns & Policy Sarah Agar.

"While Aldi issued a nationwide recall in August over concerns the locking mechanism was faulty, less than a quarter of the 8405 cookers have been returned since then."

CHOICE believes there are insufficient incentives in place for manufacturers and suppliers to act swiftly to get dangerous products out of the homes of consumers who purchased them.

"With up to 6602 of these dangerous pressure cookers still in kitchens across Australia, it's clear our product safety recall system is broken," says Ms Agar.

"Businesses face fines if they fail to let the regulator know that a recall is required but they are free to run their recalls as poorly as they choose, with no real fear of penalties. As this case shows, along with the recent recalls of Takata, Samsung and Thermomix products, many companies are putting their reputation ahead of an effective recall. 

"We need laws that make businesses accountable for effectively recalling their products when something goes wrong."

The details of the injuries and the recall rates were only uncovered after CHOICE obtained private incident reports under freedom of information laws[1].

"Businesses should have to regularly and publicly report on how their recalls are progressing. When a product is so faulty that it puts people at risk, the public deserve to know how many products are affected, how many have been returned or repaired, and how quickly and effectively the business is running the recall," says Ms Agar.

"This is a really common sense requirement and is the absolute minimum necessary requirement for a functional recall system. It's staggering that businesses don't currently have to release this information."

To join CHOICE's campaign calling for urgent voluntary recall reform head to campaigns.choice.com.au/recalls

Media contact:

Stefanie Menezes, CHOICE Communications and Media Advisor: 0430 172 669