As reported by the news magazine Umweltruf/Europaticker, the number of follow-up measures of hazard notifications to the EU Rapid Alert System such as recalls or destruction of products increased by 10 per cent year-on-year, to 4,477 cases. The European Commission presented the figures in Brussels on Tuesday.
By means of the so-called “Rapid Alert System”, the Commission intends to prevent or restrict the sale of dangerous products on the market. The latest report indicates that the number of administrative actions taken in response to an alert is increasing year after year. The number of alerts issued in 2019 came to 4,477, compared to 4,050 in 2018.
According to EU Commissioner for Justice and Consumers Didier Reynders, the Rapid Alert System is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, ensuring a continuous flow of information and the security of our internal market. In addition, the Commission is stepping up its work on product testing with the EU member states.
In 2019, public authorities from 31 countries participating in the Rapid Alert System (EU member states plus the United Kingdom, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) exchanged 2,243 alerts on dangerous products via the system, resulting in 4,477 follow-up measures. This is equivalent to an increase by 10 per cent year-on-year and by 63 per cent since 2015. The measures adopted range from the withdrawal or destruction of products by distributors and retailers before they reach consumers all the way through to unsafe products being recalled.
According to the report, toys were the product category with the highest number of alerts, followed by electrical appliances and accessories, for instance. Clothing, textiles and fashion items as well as articles for babies and children also reflected a high number of alerts.
On Tuesday the Commission also presented the results of the Coordinated Activities for the Safety of Products (CASP). Within this framework, 652 products selected by the EU member states were jointly subjected to safety testing by the European Commission and European public authorities.
The Commission will further modernise the Rapid Alert System to encourage consumers to consult the alert database and make safe buying decisions. This includes updating the consumer and business website and the specific tool used by EU member states to send alerts.
Coordinated product safety measures are organised each year. This year’s measures (CASP2020) commenced at the beginning of the year. These measures comprise product testing (such as toys, jewellery, outdoor toys, cables, small kitchen heaters, baby nests and car seats), risk assessment, online market surveillance, cooperation with customs, collection of injury and accident data and communication campaigns. The priorities for next year’s coordinated measures on product safety (CASP2021) are currently being defined.
Since 2003, the Rapid Alert System has made it possible to swiftly exchange information between the EU member states on dangerous non-food products withdrawn or recalled from the market in Europe. In this way, appropriate follow-up measures can be taken throughout the EU.
For the Rapid Alert System, the dedicated “Safety Gate” website was established, on which the alerts of the national authorities participating in the system are updated weekly. Thanks to the modernisation of the system, specific alerts can be prioritised and processed immediately as soon as they are received.
Companies can also use the Business Gateway to notify national authorities quickly and efficiently of a product that they themselves have placed on the market and which may not be safe.
Another consumer protection-related measure is the declared commitment to greater product safety (Product Safety Pledge), which sets out specific voluntary measures going beyond what is already provided for in EU legislation. Seven online marketplaces have already signed the relevant agreement to remove dangerous products from their websites in cooperation with the EU member states.
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