Catering spares market takes on Brussels

The catering equipment spare parts is at the centre of a battle with Brussels that could prove expensive for suppliers if a compromise is not found, it has emerged.

The dispute is based around the EU Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation & Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation, which aims to ensure a high level of protection of human health and the environment, while enhancing competitiveness and innovation.

Among other things, it will cover the use of hazardous substances in the manufacture of catering equipment.

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However, the REACH regulation does not currently include a spare parts exclusion unlike the RoHS and ELV directives, which include derogations known as the ‘repair as produced’ principle.

This gives exemptions for spare parts used for the service, maintenance and repair of products that were already on the market before the entry into force of any new substance restriction.

Catering equipment body CESA is supporting the European Engineering Industries Association in lobbying for REACH to include a ‘repair as produced’ derogation.

If it is not included, there will be major costs for both manufacturers and operators due to the need to develop alternative spare parts for older models. It could also decrease the service life of equipment and increase the risk for users, if spare parts become unavailable.

“It is entirely rational and logical for REACH to include ‘repair as produced’ exemptions for spare parts, just as RoHS and the ELV Directives do,” said Nick Oryino, chairman of CESA. ‘We will carry on lobbying until the EU sees sense.’

Jonathan Booth, managing director of spares firm CCS, said that when it came to the issue, the significance of OEM parts was important.

“It would seem common sense for this matter and indeed for all matters that if OEM parts are fitted to existing products then they should be excluded,” he said. “Then if spares are included in the new regulations it will not be a problem for us as we supply OEM parts.”

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