ELFBAR RESPONSE TO THE GROCER ARTICLE 17/02/23
We would like to respond to some of the points made in a recent article concerning our brand published in The Grocer.
The article misses some important points in our belief:
1. We have found some of the products we have investigated since the recent Daily Mail article to be filled to a level greater than permitted by UK regulations. However, the voluntary withdrawal of the product from the market agreed with the MHRA is not being made on safety grounds but under UK tobacco-related product regulations. This complicates the process of defining and planning a withdrawal of this magnitude, as a voluntary withdrawal of this type has never been made under these regulations before. We are of course supporting our importers to the best of our abilities and urgency.
2. We appreciate that some of the large grocery supermarkets have decided to remove the product from sale whilst the investigation continued. However, your article quoted the view of an anonymous online retailer who talks about a "recall" from customers. We must be clear that a recall of the product has not been discussed or agreed, as no risk to consumers due to the non-compliance in question has been identified. It is our understanding that a recall would only be required If any issues relating to consumer safety were identified.
3. ELFBAR will continue to work with UK importers of our products to better understand and define what a voluntary withdrawal under UK tobacco-related product regulations entails. As clarity emerges in those requirements our products' importers will be able to better communicate with the downstream supply chain.
4. We are working hard to ensure that fully checked products that are 100% compliant with UK regulations are available for the UK market in the shortest possible time. We have been very grateful for the opportunity to work collaboratively with the MHRA, and with both the UKVIA and IBVTA in finding ways of fixing this error in the UK, which is one of our most important global markets.
All of the actions agreed with the MHRA for ensuring such issues In our operations in China never occur again is either underway or already completed.