Current safety checks for fridges and freezers are deficient and allow for the sale of products that are a potential fire risk, a consumer group has warned.

Refrigeration white goods that have non-flame retardant plastic backing pass existing safety standards, but the testing is inadequate and does not replicate a real house fire, Which? said.

The British Standard requires refrigerators to pass a glow wire test to assess their fire resistance, which involves putting a hot wire through a sample of the appliance’s backing material and seeing if it catches alight.

All fridges, freezers and fridge freezers on the UK market pass this test.

But under more “stringent” testing by Which?, two separate samples of the plastic backing set alight after just 10 seconds, with a pass given if it could withstand an open flame for at least 30 seconds.

Similar testing of metal and aluminium laminate-backed appliances found neither caught alight after the 30 second test, or following a full five minutes.

Which? said almost half of the most popular fridges on the market had non-flame retardant plastic backing.