Alarm bells ring over safety of cheap foodservice equipment imports


Operators have been urged to remain on the look-out for imported catering equipment that carries no indication of basic safety approvals.

Trade body CESA has highlighted a “worrying trend” of kitchen kit being shipped into the UK market from the Far East despite not containing a CE mark.

It said that using equipment that doesn’t have the CE Mark “should set alarm bells ringing” because of how dangerous it can be.

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All commercial catering equipment sold in the EU must comply with all relevant safety Directives. If it does, it can carry the CE Mark. If it doesn’t comply, then it can’t carry the CE Mark and can’t be sold in the European Union.

If an operator installs and appliance that doesn’t have a CE Mark, and someone gets hurt, they could be held liable, explains Nick Oryino, CESA’s technical consultant.

He said: “It’s increasingly easy to buy products direct from outside the EU. You’d think most buyers of commercial equipment would be put off by the potential for issues with spare parts and service – but a cheap price can be a sore temptation. What they may not realise is that they are compromising the safety not only of their staff but also their customers.

“Enforcing compliance of the CE Mark is a huge issue that CESA is lobbying the UK and EU legislators over. For now it’s vital to remember that, if you don’t see the CE Mark on an appliance, it’s not legal, it could be dangerous and if you install it you will be liable if things go wrong. The answer? Don’t touch it, not even with an insulated glove.”

In all there are some 21 Directives that cover various aspects of catering equipment safety. They include the obvious, such as the Low Voltage Directive (making sure equipment won’t electrocute anyone), the Machinery Safety Directive (ensuring it won’t cut off bits of the body) and the Gas Appliance Regulation (it won’t blow anything up).

Less obvious ones include the Electro Magnetic Compatibility Directive, which is about equipment not damaging other appliances, and the Materials in Contact with Food Directive, which aims to ensure the appliance or product won’t transfer contaminants to food it touches.

Main image: Stock picture

Tags : CE MarkCESAFar Eastsafety
Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour


  1. At Fricosmos we have a long experience of more than 50 years in European manufacturing of foodservice equipment and we have observed a trend in the British market to install cheaper and cheaper products, mostly imported from China and India within the last decades. Installers must be aware that it is quite often marked as C E (with a blank space) meaning “China Export”.

  2. A client of mine bought fryers from the net cheaper than I could buy from manufacturers. Sadly, they were suppied with only one thermostat and when it failed, one of the wells ignited. Burned his recently refurbished bar and kitchen down. The worst part was the insurance company wouldn’t pay up because he could’nt proove due dilligence with his purchase.

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