European Parliament report on product safety increases legal certainty for retailers but a pragmatic solution for loyalty schemes is still needed

The position of the European Parliament’s Internal Market Committee on the General Product Safety Regulation (GPSR) increases legal certainty for retailers, while allowing for the pragmatic use of complementary digital labelling on product safety information.

Independent Retail Europe calls on the European Parliament plenary and on the Council to use the same pragmatism to ensure that provisions on product recalls do not force independent retailers to phase out loyalty schemes.

On 15 June 2022, the European Parliament’s Internal Market Committee adopted its report on the proposed GPSR. We very much welcome the text agreed on distributors’ obligations (article 11) and on notification of market surveillance authorities in case of individual accidents (article 19-2); this will provide a clearer set of obligations for distributors, while ensuring that accidents will be notified without souring relations between supply chain partners. These provisions should be used as the new gold standard for all product safety legislation.

We also welcome the proposal to allow product information to be available via a QR code in addition to paper printouts in the box. Complementary QR codes are a workable solution for all economic operators, rethinking consumer information in a digitized century, while the interest of consumers with limited access to the internet remain protected.

As the report represents a sensible basis for discussion with the Council, we call on EU policy makers to find pragmatic solutions to ensure that the GPSR provisions on product recalls (article 33-2) do not force independent retailers to phase out loyalty schemes that do not involve the collection of personal product information. An obligation to turn loyalty schemes into product recall schemes would represent a major burden for independent retailers, often leaving them with no choice but to abandon them. This would hurt both SME retailers and consumers.