The National Bed Federation (NBF) is stepping up its due diligence with the introduction of a random testing programme of both member and non-member products.

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. Starting this month, up to 50 mattresses, bases and headboards annually will be purchased on the open market and put through their paces against the criteria of the NBF Code of Practice.

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.

Tony Lisanti, newly-elected NBF president, says: “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.

“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.”

Although there will be a proportion of purely randomly-selected products, some will be purchased for Due Diligence testing as a result of credible tip-offs or 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 members and non-members. 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.

NBF executive director Jessica Alexander comments: “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.”