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The CE Mark History:
Since the signing of the Treaty of Rome in 1957, the European Community has continued to pursue the plans for economic development.

In The Treaty of Rome, "The community shall adopt measures with the aim of progressively establishing the internal market ... The internal market shall comprise an area without internal frontiers in which the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured"

1975 The European Court of Justice via "the rule of reason" permits European Union (Then called European Community) members to set national rules so long as trade between member states is not restricted.  However, product restrictions were permitted for health, safety or environmental reasons.

1979 The European Court of Justice upholds "mutual recognition" permitting Products manufactured (or imported) by a member state which does not present a health, safety or environmental threat, to travel freely among other states.

1986 The European Council requests the European Commission to propose revised legislation for health, safety and environmental product restrictions.  The European Council approves "New Approach" legislation, eliminating national regulations that restrict trade and establishing community-wide standards, testing and certification procedures.

1992 The Vice President of the Commission of Brussels along with ministers from the EU and the EFTA sign an agreement organizing the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital within the European Economic Area (EEA).


CE Marking Directives (New Approach):
In the period up to 1992, and subsequently, the European Parliament has enacted a series of measures intended to put the Single Market into practice.  Some of these Directives have been aimed at removing barriers of a purely customs/excise nature, others have concentrated on transport arrangements to ensure the free movement of goods, while a series of Directives (produced under the heading of "New Approach" directives) are intended to provide controls on product design, with the principal objective being to provide a "level playing field" for product safety requirements across the European Community.

The directives cover a very wide range of product areas.  One of the first to be implemented concerned the safety of children´s toys.  Subsequent directives have included provisions for machinery, electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), personal protective equipment, medical devices, gas appliances and commercial explosives, among others.  Also relevant is the Low Voltage Directive.  Strictly speaking the LVD, which was first enacted in 1973, pre-dates the "New Approach" directives, but subsequent amendments have given it a very similar function and legal structure, and the amendment which introduced the requirement to CE mark products recognized that the LVD should broadly be treated as if it were a "New Approach" directive.


CE Mark:
The CE marking is a symbol that indicates that a particular product complies with European product safety, health and environmental requirements.  The CE marking system promotes free trade with Europe by providing a single set of safety and environmental requirements a product must meet.  Products complying with CE marking are currently accepted in more than 30 European countries, a market of 400 million people with a GNP over $8 trillion.  CE marking is accelerating as the "globally accepted system" for ensuring product safety and environmental requirements.  Possible extensions to other areas of the world are being negotiated at this time.

CE marking is a declaration by the manufacturer that the product meets all the appropriate provisions of the relevant legislation implementing certain European Directives.

CE marking gives companies easier access into the European market to sell their products without adaptation or rechecking.

CE marking should not be applied to products if they are outside the scope of the Directives.  The European Commission refers to the CE Marking of products as a "passport" which can allow a manufacturer to freely circulate their products within the European Marketplace.


The CE Market Requirements:
The Market Access Requirements, which are demanded by either EU governments or private sector parties, are based on:
- Consumer health
- Product safety
- Environmental
- Social and quality concerns


Procedures for CE Marking:
Before CE marking can be affixed to the product, the manufacturer must follow certain procedures which may differ for each directive and each product.  A manufacturer must:
- Identify which "New Approach" directives apply to the product
- Prepare the Declaration of Conformity
- Draw up the Technical Construction File (TCF)
- Compile the CE User Manual

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