Warning over unsafe ‘Boxo Blend’ blenders after fatal fire
Islington Council has issued a warning about unsafe ‘Boxo Blend’ kitchen blenders, after one of the devices caused a fatal flat fire in Haringey.
Islington’s Trading Standards officers believe that as many as 650 ‘Boxo Blend’ blenders may still be in use, having been sold or given away by Boxo Blend Ltd, a business registered in Islington, from 2020-2022.
The blenders (pictured) are white, black, pink or blue on the top and bottom, with a transparent blending chamber. The ‘Boxo Blend’ logo is featured at the bottom of the product, underneath the power button. Anyone who has one of the blenders should dispose of it safely.
Islington Council was alerted by London Fire Brigade (LFB) as it investigated a fire that tragically led to the death of a man in Haringey, which they believed had been caused by a faulty blender.
Islington Council instantly investigated. Boxo Blend Ltd, a company set up to sell the blenders in the UK, was registered to a virtual office address in Old Street, Islington.
Islington Council swiftly issued a suspension notice to ensure the business could not sell any more blenders while they were safety tested. An expert found that they did not comply with electrical equipment safety regulations due to voltage issues and a lack of thermal protection, and they were deemed a fire risk
Islington Council’s thorough investigation found that at least 1,875 blenders were imported from China. More than 650 of these were sold or given away to the public. Almost 1,000 have now been seized by the council and approximately 150 were destroyed in the fire.
The company had not carried out any safety checks on the items, assuming checks had been carried out by the Chinese manufacturer. After the fatal fire, the company did not fully co-operate with Trading Standards to recall the remaining blenders. The council issued legal proceedings.
Bashiru Anthony Blenman, one of the men who ran the company, pleaded guilty to two offences under the General Product Safety Regulations 2005, one for having the unsafe blender for supply and one for of not informing the council where the blenders were when required to do so.
At Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 1 February 2023, Mr Blenman was sentenced to 12 weeks’ imprisonment suspended for 12 months, 150 hours of unpaid work, and was asked to make a contribution of £700 to costs plus a £128 victim’s surcharge. A forfeiture order for all seized blenders was also made.
Cllr John Woolf, Islington Council’s Executive Member for Community Safety, said: “We’re committed to keeping people safe, and will take robust action to help protect the public.
“If you think you might have one of these unsafe ‘Boxo Blend’ blenders please check now, don’t use the device and dispose of it safely. You can contact your local authority if you want advice on how to dispose of electrical items. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to return the device to the supplier, Boxo Blend Ltd, as the company is no longer trading and has been dissolved.
“This incredibly tragic case, which occurred in our neighbouring borough, highlights how important it is for all businesses, however small, to fulfil their legal responsibility to make sure any products they import are tested and meet UK safety regulations. We remain forever vigilant, and we will investigate and, where appropriate, prosecute to help protect the public.”
John Herriman, Chief Executive of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) said: “This case highlights the importance of product safety and is a stark reminder that dangerous products can kill. Businesses that import and sell goods in the UK have a responsibility to ensure products comply with the law, and they should be aware of the tragic consequences of cutting corners, as well as the severe penalties they face if they fail to take these responsibilities seriously.
“This case also demonstrates how Trading Standards teams play a vital role in keeping the public safe – the actions of Islington Trading Standards undoubtedly prevented further loss of life, and it is important that Trading Standards and Legal services are properly resourced so this type of important work can continue