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ST&R Attorney Warns Children’s Product Distributors to Focus on CPSC Compliance

Thursday, April 25, 2013
By Shawn McCausland
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Distributors of children’s products are cautioned to dot their compliance “i’s” and cross their regulatory “t’s,” especially if they are selling online. According to a leading consumer product safety attorney, the government has taken to shopping over the Internet, looking for children’s items such as toys and clothing to test for things like lead content and flammability.

“The Consumer Product Safety Commission is beefing up its enforcement activity on the heels of issuing final regulations on testing,” explains Beth Ring, a senior member of Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A., and head of the firm’s consumer product safety practice. “And they have taken to shopping online and mimicking consumers. The next shopping cart you process could be for the feds,” she warns.

Ring, who founded the global trade firm’s New York office, was a featured speaker April 22 at the Retail Value Chain Federation’s spring conference in Grapevine, Texas. RVCF is a trade association dedicated to promoting best practices, collaboration and technology solutions to retailers and their vendors.

“Retailers are concerned about product safety and ensuring the certificates of conformity they receive from their vendors are accurate,” Ring says. “When the government buys a sample from a retail Web site and performs a test with results that are in conflict with documentation that their vendor has supplied, the result is a costly recall process.”

Ring points out that it is not just federal standards that are putting retailers and vendors into tailspins; many states require product testing that seems to conflict with federal regulatory requirements. “Even the most compliant companies are scratching their heads, trying to figure out how to revise their recordkeeping procedures and internal controls to keep up with all the rules,” she says.

Ring recommends that importers conduct regular manufacturer audits to ensure that proper test procedures are in place, that material changes are reported to buyers, and that appropriate new testing is conducted. Compliant importers must constantly monitor the CPSC Web site for recalls and find a reliable source of information to keep up with changes in the law. ST&R publishes regular client advisories on consumer product safety issues as well as a daily trade report that keeps importers, exporters, distributors and retailers informed on the changing global trade and compliance landscapes.

Founded in 1977, Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A., together with its related consulting companies Sandler & Travis Trade Advisory Services and FDA Solutions Group LLC, is the largest dedicated international trade and customs service provider in the world, employing over 600 customs and trade professionals across the globe.

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