EU’s Rapid Alert System used 2201 times in 2017
In 2017, the Rapid Alert System (RAPEX) for dangerous products was used by national authorities in the EU more than 2000 times. At the top of the list of hazardous items were toys, cars and motorcycles.
Authorities following up on the RAPEX alerts took action, withdrawing dangerous products from the market. These included vehicles and toys, for example several models of the popular ‘fidget spinner.’
The numbers regarding unsafe, non-food consumer products that have been processed through the system were recently released by the European Commission in its 2017 RAPEX annual report. The Rapid Alert System is in place to allow authorities to react quickly and remove any products that might cause injuries.
The statistics show an increase from 2016, when there were 1691 RAPEX alerts. Of the 2201 notifications in 2017, 29 percent were toys, 20 percent were motor vehicles, 12 percent were clothing, textile and fashion items while 6 percent were electrical appliances and equipment.
Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said, “Thanks to this system, we are keeping our children safe and preventing fatal accidents on our roads. This is a good example of how to efficiently enforce EU consumer rules. Unfortunately, in many other areas we need to improve enforcement and make sure consumers can benefit from their rights.”
Consumers are increasingly buying products online directly from third countries, posing further challenges in the process to ensure that the products meet EU safety standards.
The European Commission is encouraging cooperation with its international counterparts and online platforms to make sure that unsafe products do not reach EU consumers, issuing a recommendation with a set of operational measures to battle illegal online content, including when it comes to dangerous products.
What is RAPEX?
Since 2003, the Rapid Alert system ensures that information about dangerous non-food products withdrawn from the market and/or recalled anywhere in Europe is quickly circulated between Member States and the European Commission. This way, appropriate follow-up action (ban/stop of sales, withdrawal, recall or import rejection by Customs authorities) can be taken everywhere in the EU.
Thirty-one countries (EU together with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) currently participate in the system.