BRUSSELS, Belgium, March 14, 2018 (ENS) – Toys and motor vehicles top the list of dangerous non-food products reported to the European Union’s Rapid Alert System, according to the European Commission’s newly released 2017 report on the system.
The report shows that in 2017, the Rapid Alert System was increasingly used by national authorities with more than 2,000 alerts on dangerous products circulated through the system.
Toys, for example several models of the popular fidget spinners, cars and motorcycles, topped the list of dangerous products detected and removed from the market.
Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said, “European consumer rules guarantee that only safe products are sold in the EU. If this is not the case, the Rapid Alert System supports authorities to react quickly and remove any products that might cause injuries. Thanks to this system, we are keeping our children safe and preventing fatal accidents on our roads.”
In 2017, toys was the most notified product category (29%), followed by motor vehicles (20%), and clothing, textiles and fashion items (12%).
As far as risks are concerned, in 2017 the risk most often notified was injury (28%), followed by chemical risk (22%).
Since 2003, the Rapid Alert system has attempted to ensure that information about dangerous non-food products withdrawn from the market and/or recalled anywhere in Europe is quickly circulated among Member States and the European Commission. This way, appropriate follow-up action can be taken everywhere in the EU.
The 2,201 alerts sent through the Rapid Alert System in 2017 prompted nearly 4,000 follow-up actions, such as the withdrawal of products from the market.
Actions can include banning or stopping of sales, withdrawal, recall or import rejection by Customs authorities.
Thirty-one countries – the 28 EU Member States, together with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, currently participate in the system.
Jourová said this shows that all national authorities closely monitored the alerts in the system and took all necessary measures to help make the market safer for consumers.
Dangerous products of European origin accounted for 413 notifications (26%), but the majority of dangerous products notified in the system came from outside the EU.
China is the number one country of origin, but the number of alerts remains stable at 53% (1,155) in 2017, same as the year before.
The Commission continues to cooperate closely with Chinese authorities, working together to discuss specific cases and implement actions, such as exchange of good practices.
Many of the dangerous products notified in the Rapid Alert System are also sold on online. To address this phenomenon, the Commission is encouraging cooperation with its international counterparts and online platforms to make sure that unsafe products do not reach EU consumers.
The Commission issued a Recommendation on March 1, with a set of operational measures to be taken by online platforms and Member States to further step up the work on illegal online content, including cases of dangerous products.
In particular, the Commission is calling on platforms to take voluntary commitments that go further than their legal obligations in the field of product safety.
“This is a good example of how to efficiently enforce EU consumer rules,” said Jourová. “Unfortunately, in many other areas we need to improve enforcement and make sure consumers can benefit from their rights. This is what our upcoming ‘New Deal for Consumers’ is all about.”
To improve enforcement, the Commission will unveil its New Deal for Consumers in April. It aims at modernizing the existing rules and improving the protection of consumers.
Jourová says the next step in the modernization of the system will enable users to read each alert in all official EU languages.
The Rapid Alert System has a dedicated public website, which provides access to weekly updates of alerts submitted by the national authorities participating in the system. Every week, around 50 alerts are registered and published on the site.
Anyone can consult the notifications in the system.
Consumers and businesses can now also create and personalize their own subscriptions to alerts according to their needs and preferences and share alerts through social media.
A tool is also available on the site for businesses to quickly and efficiently inform national authorities about a product that they have introduced onto the market that might be unsafe.
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