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Consumers urged to be wary of ‘inaccurate’ thermometers

Posted on: 30 July 2021

Trading Standards is urging members of the public and healthcare professionals to take care when purchasing infrared thermometers online.

It follows an alert by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) who have seen an increase in the number of infrared thermometers, that give inaccurate readings, making their way into the UK market.

This is believed to be caused by the COVID-19 pandemic creating a massive increase in demand for these products.

Contactless infrared thermometers are widely used to check people’s temperature as a method for screening for a raised temperature, and possible COVID-19 infection. Products marketed with claims that they can be used for a medical purpose are medical devices and therefore regulated by the MHRA.

Ben Newell, Team Manager at the Heart of the South West Trading Standards Service*, said: “We advise that consumers buying these products or any medical device in shops or online check that they carry the CE or UKCA mark.

“These will either be on the device or on its packaging, or if you are buying online, should be included in the item description from the seller.”

The MHRA advises that anyone considering purchasing an infrared thermometer should follow the guidance set out in the information for the public and professional users.

People can also read general advice and tips on purchasing medical devices online.

The MHRA is responsible for enforcing the law on medical devices in the UK and has a range of a range of investigatory and enforcement powers to ensure their safety and quality. If suppliers fail to comply with the regulations, then they may be subject to prosecution.