Monday, 23 September 2013

Manaa - Abu Dhabi Names And Shames

The Safety Dance
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council has launched a new portal called 'Manaa' which lists the products it has recalled from the Abu Dhabi market because of safety concerns - over 15,000 items have been taken off the shelves in the last year.

The story ran on national news agency WAM and, therefore, in all the papers.

It's a remarkable move in its own quiet little way - it's unusual to see acceptance of a 'name and shame' strategy around here and this website certainly does that. Each nonconformant product is identified with a photograph and its brand name, product number and batch number. Categorised into product types, the archive of recalled products is searchable and a search through the database quickly reveals a number of surprises.

The first surprise is in the electrical appliances category. There's a huge dominance of Chinese products for a start, sort of what you'd expect, but there are also some major brands featured, including Moulinex and Kenwood. Added to that, a number of locally known brands are prominent, too, with multiple product recalls from Elekta, Geepas, Nikai and Aftron. Nearly every supermarket in the country will sell you Oshtraco socket strips and electrical accessories, and yet they've had recalls too. Who knew?

Some of the reasons for recalling products can seem a bit obtuse. The Aftron AFGSM1800 contact grill (sounds more like a mobile to me!) was withdrawn because "The temperature rise beyond the standard limit" and an Elekta fan withdrawn because "Fan blade is accessible with the test finger which may cut the users fingers when running." Another Elekta fan didn't make the grade because "The temperature rose beyond the standard limit of motor winding by resistance method the and ball pressure test of speed selector insulation did not comply."

I'm sure it didn't...

Perhaps amusingly, one of the recalled brands of socket strip was 'Terminator'.

But the real surprise comes when you dig into the archive beyond the electrical appliances and children's toys categories. Because beyond these, the cupboard is bare. Not a thing. All the other categories are empty, including vehicle tires,vehicle parts, containers and packaging, cigarette fuel, lighter, firework and chemicals and cosmetics. Presumably these have yet to be regulated.

The scheme, albeit young, is a good one and great news for consumers. The Council is a relatively new body with a huge job ahead of it - and, from the website, appears to be implementing a rounded standards, regulation and conformity system for product safety. For instance, it only announced its electrical appliances certification initiative in January this year. So we can presumably look forward to the database being further populated as that work continues.

The Council appears to have a remit to cover Abu Dhabi emirate only rather than being a Federal body - however a chat with Abdalla Muami on Twitter clarifies that ADQCC liaises with Federal bodies on non-conforming products, which would mean, presumably, that products Abu Dhabi finds unsafe are withdrawn from all markets.

However, now you can actually check for yourself before buying stuff thanks to the database!
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