Which? response to BEIS investigation into the fridge freezer involved in the Grenfell Tower fire

Peter Vicary-Smith, Chief Executive of Which?, said:

“We believe that UK safety standards are inadequate when it comes to plastic-backed fridges and therefore meeting these standards is insufficient protection for consumers.

“Our tests show that plastic-backed fridges are a potential fire risk and should be withdrawn from sale. Whirlpool must urgently clarify if this model had this type of flammable backing.”


  •  Even though BEIS’ independent testing has confirmed the model met legal safety requirements and the risk associated with the model is low, our testing shows that plastic backed fridge-freezers that meet the standards are still a potential fire risk and could be putting consumers’ lives at risk.
  • An industry-wide investigation by Which? of more than 500 of the most popular refrigeration appliances on the market shows that the backing material on close to half (45%) of all fridges, freezers and fridge-freezers tested is made of unsafe plastic that poses a potential fire risk.  Whilst the backing is not the cause of the fire itself, if it cannot properly withstand a flame in the event of a fire it risks leaving the flammable insulation exposed.
  • Which? now believes all plastic backing material could be a fire risk in people’s homes due to the potential to accelerate the spread of flames in the event of a fire starting.
  • Which? is now calling on manufacturers to make product safety a priority and immediately stop making refrigeration products with any plastic backing. Following this investigation a number of manufacturers have committed to replacing plastic backing, but this must be done immediately.
  • Consumers can use Which?’s new tool to check the backing material of hundreds of the most popular fridges, freezers and fridge-freezers currently on the market and reviewed by Which? – https://www.which.co.uk/news/2018/04/check-to-see-whether-a-fridge-freezer-fridge-or-freezer-is-a-safety-concern