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  QUESTION: Warning sign on glazed pottery,01 Feb 2006, Victoria Australia

Can you advise what regulations legal requirements are in place that govern the labelling of decorator bowls /platters that ARE NOT SOLD with the intention of being used to hold food due to the lead content in glaze but where the risk if this product being used in such a manner is very real. for example by law is this product required to be labelled "contains lead"..OR "not food safe" or is labelling "decorator item" legally sufficient
ANSWER: 01 Feb 2006

Dear Anne,
In regards to possibly producing a warning sign on a piece of glazed pottery by labeling it with a sign that says "contains lead", this would be up to the discretion of the maker, because The Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Drugs and Poisons (SUSDP) labeling requirements do not apply to glazed pottery, ("Appendix A", General Exemptions, page 245), as decided by the National Drugs and Poisons Schedule Committee. Therefore the Trade Practices Act (Consumer Product Safety Act, 1979) would apply, which is governed by the Australian Consumer ACCC. I have reproduced for you the relevant sections below:

TRADE PRACTICES (CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY STANDARDS) REGULATIONS 1979 - REG 5 Warnings accompanying goods
(1) Where, in these Regulations, a consumer product safety standard is prescribed for the purposes of section 65C of the Act, being a consumer product safety standard that consists of the requirement that a warning shall be placed on goods of a particular kind or on goods of a particular kind and also on any package in which the goods are offered for supply:
(a)the warning on the goods or package shall:
(i)be marked on the goods or package in indelible permanent ink or paint and in a colour contrasting with the colour of the goods or package, as the case may be;
(ii)be stitched into the material of the goods or package by means of thread of a colour contrasting with the colour of the goods or package, as the case may be; or
(iii)be marked or stitched in the manner prescribed by subparagraph (i) or (ii) upon or into a label of durable substance affixed to the goods or package in a reasonably permanent manner;
(b)the warning on the goods or package shall be placed in a conspicuous position on the goods or package; and
(c)the words of the warning shall not be combined with or be accompanied by any other words or matter (including an illustration) where those other words or that other matter would tend to contradict or obscure the meaning of the warning.

(2)Subregulation (1) does not apply where these Regulations make other provision in relation to the form and content of markings, warnings or instructions to accompany goods of a particular kind. http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2004C00303 
The particular "kind" of product concerning us in this matter is "glazed pottery".
Therefore, the product must comply with "product quality" standards. But, if the product does not comply with product quality standards, Section 65 of the "Fair Trading Act" applies:

FAIR TRADING ACT 1987 - SECT 65 Prohibition on supply of goods not complying with product quality standards

65 . Prohibition on supply of goods not complying with product quality standards
(1) A person shall not, in trade or commerce, supply goods -
(a) that are intended to be used, or are of a kind likely to be used, by a consumer; and
(b) in relation to which there is a product quality standard, unless the goods comply with the standard.
(2) If -
(a) a person supplies goods in contravention of subsection (1); and
(b) another person suffers loss or damage because of a defect in, or a characteristic of, the goods but would not have suffered it if the goods had complied with the product quality standard,
the person who suffers the loss or damage shall be deemed, for the purposes of this Act, to have suffered it by the supplying of the goods.
Since the product is not intended for food usage, but is intended for decorative purposes only, the only "product quality standard" applying would be those deemed appropriate by the manufacturer, who would only be responsible for utilising industry wide standards during the manufacture of the product. Internationally, these are known as ISO standards. In Australia, these are known as Standards Australia.

Labeling the product as "for decorative purposes only" or "decorator's item" would be sufficient.

Regards,
Josephine Tesoriero,
Research Officer.
See: http://www.environment.gov.au/atmosphere/airquality/publications/pottery.html

http://www.environment.gov.au/atmosphere/airquality/publications/ceramics.html

 

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