5.9m non-compliant PPE items stopped at Felixstowe not government or NHS orders, says Trading Standards

PPE stopped at the Port of Felixstowe for being non-compliant were not government or NHS orders. File pcture: JASON ALEXANDER

PPE stopped at the Port of Felixstowe for being non-compliant were not government or NHS orders. File pcture: JASON ALEXANDER - Credit: Archant

Nearly six million items of PPE stopped at the Suffolk border because they did not meet UK safety standards were not government or NHS orders, it has been confirmed.

Suffolk Trading Standards on Monday said it had inspected 10.9million items of PPE coming through the Port of Felixstowe from April to October this year, with 5.9m items found to be non-compliant with safety standards.

Those included face masks, hand sanitiser and gloves.

MORE: Trading Standards stop 5.9m unsafe PPE items at Suffolk borderBut Trading Standards has now confirmed that none of the seized items were for government orders or NHS stocks, but were private orders and those destined for the online open market.

A spokesman said: “We have prevented unsafe and non-compliant products from reaching the market as they are refused entry at the border, and unsafe products are destroyed.

“Our import surveillance authorities work with local trading standards authorities to bring non-compliant products into compliance before they are made available for consumers to purchase.”

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For products which are compliant but did not have correct documentation or labels, work was carried out to bring those in line so they could be used, while 2.6m face masks deemed non-compliant were used as ordinary non-surgical face coverings so they were not wasted.

Other common problems included lack of compliance documentation, no valid test reports and items claiming compliance with safety standards they didn’t meet.

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A number of KN95 respirator face masks were also halted as the UK government has deemed them as providing inadequate protection.

The Trading Standards spokesman said: “We carried out the same checks we would carry out on any consumer goods, but we devised specific checklists for the team for PPE face masks and hand sanitisers to assist the team in assessing these complex products.

“The Suffolk checklists were also shared nationally with other trading stands authorities and border points.

“Away from the port, we worked closely with Suffolk County Council procurement to ensure that all PPE supplied to SCC was compliant and safe.

“We continue to check as many products as we can at he border, on an intelligence-led basis, responding to referrals we receive from the border profiling team at the Office for Product Safety and Standards on a wide variety of consumer products, including PPE.”

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