95% of toys bought from new online platform break EU safety rules

  • Toy Industries of Europe (TIE) bought 19 toys from online marketplace TEMU. None of the toys fully complied with EU legislation and 18 posed a real safety risk for children
  • The shopping exercise follows TIE’s large scale online-shopping initiative across several marketplaces in 2020 where results were equally concerning
  • TIE calls on law makers and authorities to crack down on unsafe toys sold by unscrupulous operators who are not based in the EU. 
  • The current revision of the Toy Safety Regulation can – for toys – remedy the current legal loophole which allows the sale of toys where no EU economic operator is responsible for their safety

Toy Industries of Europe (TIE) bought 19 toys from online marketplace TEMU only to find none of them were legally sold in the EU and 18 presented a real safety risk for children. In this regard, the EU needs targeted legislation to protect children and to allow reputable toy companies to fairly compete. The revision of the Toy Safety Regulation provides an opportunity to tackle this.

At the end of 2023, following growing concerns from TIE members, we bought 19 toys from TEMU.com. We sent them to an EU-accredited independent safety testing laboratory for testing against the EU’s toy safety rules. The findings are alarming:

  • None of the toys comply with EU legislation. This means they should not be on sale in the EU;
  • 18 out of the 19 toys do not meet toy safety standard EN 71-1 and or EN 71-3 and thus present significant risks for children. Playing with them can lead to danger. Hazards include cutting, blockage, choking, strangulation, puncturing and chemical danger. For example, a rainbow ribbon rattle for babies poses several safety risks, including sharp edges on metallic bells that could cut, small parts that could cause choking, rigid protrusions that might lead to blockages. And migration of boron from one slime kit was 11 times higher than the legal limit for toys.
  • 18 of the 19 toys did not have an EU address, which is a requirement under the EU Market Surveillance Regulation

When TIE informed TEMU of its findings, they responded that they took action and the toys can no longer be found on their platform. While their responsiveness is encouraging, corrective actions do not suffice. For every unsafe toy identified on the platform, there are countless others not found and in the hands of consumers across the EU.

The findings are fully in line with the results of TIE’s 2020 exercise when toys were bought from four different online marketplaces and the results of many similar exercises[1]. The problem lies with 3rd-party sellers who cannot be held responsible for the safety of the toy (in this case 19 out of the 19 toys). The EU’s legal framework does not cover this situation. Recent legislative changes such as the Digital Services Act can lead to better enforcement against EU-sellers, but fail to address the loophole of sellers outside the EU. For toys, where the most vulnerable consumer is at risk and rules are stricter than other products, the new Toy Safety Regulation can close this legal loophole. EU consumers need a pro-active approach from e-commerce platforms, who should not allow irresponsible traders onto their platforms.

Catherine Van Reeth, Director General of Toy Industries of Europe says the EU needs to design – and enforce – better rules against the sale of counterfeit and unsafe toys, The EU has the world’s strictest toy safety rules yet online platforms continue to allow the sale of toys from non-EU sellers that endanger children. e-Commerce is vital for the economy and consumers should be able to trust that what is offered for sale in the EU is compliant with EU rules. So online platforms should not abuse EU consumer trust. Online platforms and marketplaces such as TEMU need to take responsibility for weeding out and not allowing traders that sell illegal, unsafe toys.”

TIE calls for the following changes:

  • The proposed Toy Safety Regulation should close the regulatory loophole that, despite the Digital Services Act and other rules, remains in place for sellers based outside of the EU. None of the 19 toys bought have an EU-based economic operator who is responsible for the safety of the toy. Where there is no EU-based economic operator, the online marketplace should be deemed responsible for the safety of the toy.
  • Market surveillance authorities should focus on enforcement on these types of imports and should be given the resources to work effectively. This means checking small consignments of low value as they are often the types of parcels that escape checks.
  • National authorities should urgently explore how they can use existing rules to block websites that continuously enable the sale of dangerous products.
  • Proper enforcement of DSA provisions related to traceability of traders (KYBC), whereby online platforms verify that the information provided by said traders is accurate.

TEMU is an online shopping app whose popularity has significantly grown in the last two years. While its Chinese parent company, PDD Holdings, does not issue market figures, TEMU is surging in the EU[2]. It is the most popular marketplace app in Spain and the most downloaded app (excluding games) in Poland. The app enables customers to buy from sellers outside the EU, particularly China.

Notes to Editor:

See here the full list of toys bought and their compliance and safety issues.


 beuc-x-2022- & 029_products_from_online_marketplaces_continue_to_fail_safety_tests.pdf;
Two-thirds of 250 products bought from online marketplaces fail safety tests, consumer groups find (beuc.eu);
Spielwaren von Temu und Shein können gefährlich sein – Spielwarenverband Schweiz SVS | Der Verband für die Spielwarenbranche;
Toujours beaucoup de produits dangereux sur les places de marché | economie.gouv.fr ;
CASP 2021, Coordinated activities on the safety of products – Publications Office of the EU (europa.eu);
Forum Report (europa.eu)
[2] techreport.com/statistics/temu-statistics