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NBF to introduce random product testing

The National Bed Federation is to introduce random product testing to see if mattresses, bases and headboards meet its Code of Practice.

Products made by NBF members and non-members will be bought on the open market.

Products will be subject to flammability tests, then cut open and specifications checked against marketing claims. Textile composition labelling information will be looked for and enquiries will be made about chemicals and other featured treatments to ensure compliance with REACH and Biocides regulations.

Up to 50 products will be purchased in a year.

The Due Diligence Testing Programme has been developed by the NBF to strengthen its Code of Practice after conducting a pilot exercise earlier this year.

‘The NBF’s Code of Practice, with its comprehensive, regular audits - compulsory for all NBF manufacturer members - has resulted in massive strides in raising standards, improving awareness and tightening procedures in bed manufacturing in the UK. All this helps to level the playing field for reputable manufacturers doing the right thing. But we realised we needed to do more to further strengthen trust in the NBF Approved Mark,’ said Tony Lisanti, NBF president.

‘We hope this new Due Diligence Testing Programme will take our fight against rogue traders to the next level. We believe it’s a robust enhancement to our Code of Practice audit process.’

As well as the random purchases, some products will be bought for Due Diligence testing as a result of what the NBF described as ‘credible concerns’ expressed by third parties; or, in the case of NBF members, where Previous Code of Practice performance has been less than A rated.

Test results will be shared with all companies, both member and non-member. More serious findings could be reported to trading standards. Reports will be issued periodically but companies and products will not be specifically identified – unless the results are sufficiently serious, which may lead to informing trading standards; and, in the case of NBF members, to suspension or expulsion.

‘All along, the NBF Code of Practice has been about reassuring customers that what they’re buying from NBF members is safe, clean and honest. They can’t look inside a mattress to see what’s there, so they have to take on trust what they’re told it contains. With this new random testing programme we aim to go a step further towards exposing the dishonesty that so frustrates reputable traders. We want to make people think twice about what they’re buying, especially if it looks like a “great bargain”. We also hope it will give customers even further reassurance that buying a product made by an NBF member is worth it,’ said Jessica Alexander, NBF executive director.