Market surveillance authorities are tasked with inspecting products and chemicals in terms of safety and checking their conformity with the relevant European legislation. In 2008, market surveillance was given with Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 a harmonised legal basis on market surveillance across Europe. The EU Member States are obliged to set up market surveillance authorities and to ensure that they exercise their powers.
The freedoms of the internal market are confronted by lack of knowledge and uncertainty on the one hand, but also unfortunately the temptation for abuse on the other. This makes the role of market surveillance all the more important in the interests of comprehensive consumer protection. At the same time, market surveillance also assists with environmental protection and in protecting Baden-Württemberg's industry and economy from distortions of competition.
Where products are faulty or do not meet the relevant legal requirements, market surveillance authorities are authorised to order product warnings, prohibitions on sale, recalls and even the destruction of particularly dangerous products.
The task of market surveillance
The Regierungspräsidium Tübingen [Tübingen regional council] as the central market surveillance authorit in Baden-Württemberg is responsible across the state for all market surveillance tasks, and inspects all types of products for compliance with EU-wide product requirements. To this end, products are tested at the premises of manufacturers, importers and retailers, but also at trade fairs. Due to the strong growth in online sales, products bought on the internet are increasingly the focus of market surveillance.
More in-depth technical testing of products is carried out by the testing centre and the chemical laboratory of the Landesanstalt für Umwelt, Messungen und Naturschutz Baden-Württemberg (LUBW) [State Agency for Environment, Measurements and Nature Conservation Baden-Württemberg], but as well in conjunction with test centres in other federal states as well as by certified private test centres.