Don’t get a shock this Easter!

The trading standards team at North Somerset Council is wishing everyone a Happy Easter, but if you’re planning on hatching an Easter treat avoid a shocking surprise!

A number of low-cost egg incubators have appeared on the market in recent months.  The products are frequently sold via the internet and are often manufactured in China and supplied from outside the European Union direct to UK consumers.

North Somerset Council’s trading standards carried out electrical safety testing on three units: two failed to meet the requirements of the Electrical Safety Regulations, yet both were CE marked but bore no manufacturer’s details.  The third failed to comply with the standard in relation to labelling and marking requirements.

One unit, a seven-egg incubator, appealing to younger children in design, was poorly constructed: the water reservoir could easily be over-filled and water could pour through a grid and collect in the element and motor housing presenting a potential shock hazard.

None of the incubators carried the correct warnings and markings and one had a non-UK plug fitted.  Instructions included with the items advised users to wrap the incubators in ‘warm clothing or wool’.  With no over-temperature safety mechanism the device would run the risk over overheating – representing a fire hazard.

Warning signs for these products include:

  • Price – a product that is selling significantly cheaper than the market average should set alarm bells ringing
  • Don’t assume a CE mark means the product is safe
  • Look for a manufacturer’s address on the product or instructions
  • If the product is a brand you don’t recognise, do an internet search for the manufacturer – if there is no English language site, be suspicious
  • Instructions should carry warnings of electrical safety hazards and recycling symbols – if these are absent or the language is imprecise or badly translated, this may means the product doesn’t comply with EU regulations and may be dangerous
  • Units should be supplied with a standard plug – if it has a non-UK plug (ie 2-pin), then it should be fitted with a suitable conversion plug which encloses the non-UK plug

The seller has removed these incubators from sale, but similar items are widely available from many sources. Consumers are advised that if they have bought an egg incubator recently and are concerned about the product to contact their supplier or report to Trading Standards on 08454 04 05 06.  Trading Standards will to continue to monitor the situation.

Mandy Bishop, assistant director operations at North Somerset Council said: “Keeping chickens and hatching eggs has been a growing hobby over the last few years, many people are concerned about hen welfare and the quality of eggs bought in supermarkets and so having your own hens is one way of ensuring your eggs are produced as you want them to be.  This is a hobby families can take part in together and we want this to be a safe and productive process.”