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Crackdown on detergent capsules launched following child poisonings

The ‘liquitabs’ are required to have a bitter taste.

Image: Shutterstock/Africa Studio

FROM TODAY IRELAND’S retailers will face tougher checks on the types of laundry detergent capsules they have for sale.

The capsules – known as ‘liquitabs’ – can be a major hazard to children due to their colourful appearance, making them mistakable as sweets.

More than 900 people have been involved in poisoning incidents related to the capsules in the past five years, with the bulk of these involving children under the age of three.

If swallowed, the liquitabs have been known to cause severe vomiting and breathing difficulties.

An inspection campaign will be carried out by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), and retailers have a responsibility to remove capsules that do not meet EU safety standards from their shelves.

What is changing exactly?

The new EU-wide safety measures came into effect at the start of the year, and make two key changes – both of which relate to how the tablets are packaged.

Now the boxes that the capsules are stored in must be resealable, and come in an opaque container so children can’t see the capsules inside.

The soluble film that surrounds the capsules is also required to have a bitter taste, to deter children if they put them in their mouths.

Checking stores

The inspection campaign will last four months and will see the HSA checking stores around the country to ensure the products they sell are compliant.

Speaking about the campaign, Yvonne Mullooly, a senior inspector with the HSA said:

We are now asking all retailers and distributors to check their existing stock to make sure what they have on their shelves is compliant as all non-compliant stock should be removed.

Read: 33 people including 5 children die after eating poisoned sweets

Also: Dublin Bus drivers to ditch Port Tunnel if they can’t listen to their radios

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