- What is RAPEX?
- What type of measures can be taken?
- What is covered by RAPEX?
- What are obligations of national authorities?
- What are the obligations of producers?
RAPEX is the European rapid alert system for dangerous products. It ensures that information about dangerous products withdrawn from the market and/or recalled from consumers anywhere in Europe is quickly circulated between Member States and the European Commission, so that appropriate action can be taken everywhere in the EU. Thirty-one countries currently participate in the system. Croatia has joined RAPEX as from 1 July 2013. The participating countries are all the European Union countries and the EFTA/EEA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway).
The most common measures are: ban/stop on sales; withdrawal of a dangerous product from the market or its recall from consumers; and import rejection by the customs authorities.
The scope of RAPEX covers dangerous non-food products intended for consumers (e.g. a toy, a cosmetic, clothing) and for professionals (e.g. a power drill, a machine, a construction product) which pose a serious risk to the health and safety of consumers (risks of injuries, chemical risks, etc.), as well as to various public interests, such as 'environment' (risk for trees, water, air, soil, etc. from dangerous chemicals contained in a product), 'health and safety at the workplace' and 'public security'.
The RAPEX system covers the majority of non-food products. Other categories of non-food products, such as pharmaceuticals and medical devices, are covered by other specific alert systems.
National authorities ensure that businesses respect their obligation to place only safe products on the market. They must designate authorities that can take measures to prevent or restrict the marketing or use of dangerous products. Each country designates a national RAPEX Contact Point which coordinates the system at the national level and submits information to the Commission about dangerous products found on its own market. The information received as ‘notifications' and validated by the Commission is rapidly circulated to the national Contact Points for appropriate action. The results of these follow-up activities are reported back through the system through so-called ‘reactions'.
Producers (i.e. manufacturers and importers) are responsible for placing only safe products on the market. Once aware that a product is dangerous, a producer must immediately take measures to prevent further risks to consumers. National competent authorities must also be informed about the safety problem, clearly identifying the product in question, the risks it poses and the information necessary to trace it. This information is then conveyed via the RAPEX system to the Commission and other countries participating in the RAPEX system if the product poses a serious risk.