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Trade: Retailers, pharmaceutical chains reportedly fined in Romania for selling non-compliant masks


Some of the largest retailers and pharmacy chains in Romania are on the list of companies fined for selling non-compliant masks, according to a report of the National Authority for Consumer Protection (ANPC) obtained by local Agerpres. The list reportedly includes Lidl, Kaufland, Mega Image, Auchan, Altex, Profi, Dedeman, DM, Sensiblu, and HelpNet, but also the Lukoil Romania gas stations.


Between October 23 and November 23, ANPC, through its territorial branches, carried out several controls to verify compliance with legal provisions for the sale of masks. The consumer protection inspectors checked 599 economic operators, and at 396 of them (66%), they found non-compliances with the legal provisions in force. 

More than 35.1 million masks worth RON 19.76 million were checked, and the inspectors found 32.99 million non-compliant masks.


Among the irregularities found are the total or partial absence of identification and characterization elements, lack of translation into Romanian, missing instructions, lack of mention of material composition, lack of declaration of conformity, and missing CE conformity marking.


As a result, the control bodies temporarily pulled some 31.9 million masks from sale until the issues are solved. They also decided to stop the trading of 725,448 masks and remove them from the sale. Plus, the inspectors applied 668 sanctions, of which 237 warnings and 431 fines worth RON 2.9 million for violations of consumer protection regulations, Agerpres said.Units of major retailer Lidl, Rewe, Kaufland, Mega Image, Auchan, Altex, Dedeman, Profi, DM, Lukoil gas stations, and Help Net and Sensiblu pharmacies were on the list of companies fined.


Economy minister Virgil Popescu said on November 25 that half of the face masks sold as personal protective equipment in Romania offer no protection against COVID-19. Thus, the Economy Ministry will issue an order to force retailers to mark the "non-compliant products" - namely the face masks produced for other purposes, not meeting the specific filtration requirements (the so-called "cotton face masks"). 

Wearing face masks is now mandatory throughout Romania, even in outdoor spaces. However, this could change after the expected COVID-19 vaccination campaign.