Product safety: Rapex notifications of dangerous products at new all-time high

On 2 March 2021, the European Commission published its annual report on Safety Gate, which is the EU’s rapid alert system for dangerous consumer products and helps remove dangerous non-food products from the market. According to the report, toys were the product category with the highest number of alerts, followed by electrical appliances and accessories as well as products associated with COVID-19.

On 2 March 2021, the European Commission published its annual report via “Safety Gate”, which is the EU rapid alert system for dangerous consumer products and which contributes towards taking dangerous products off the market.

The report indicates that the number of administrative actions taken in response to an alert is increasing year after year. For instance, the number of actions taken in 2020 came in response to 5,377 alerts, up from 4,447 alerts in 2019 (trade-e-bility reported), reaching a new high.

9% of all alerts concerned products associated with COVID-19

9% of all alerts registered in 2020 concerned products related to COVID-19, mostly masks intended to provide protection but failing to do so. For instance, in 2020 there were 161 alerts on masks, 3 alerts on special overalls, and 18 alerts on UV lamps intended to serve as sterilizers. The alerts distributed in the system are also applicable this year.

Number of follow-up examinations up by more than 20%

In 2020, public authorities from the 31 participating countries of the Safety Gate Network (EU Member States plus Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and the United Kingdom) exchanged a total of 2,253 alerts on measures adopted against dangerous products via the system. They responded with 5,377 follow-up actions. This is equivalent to an increase of more than 20% over the number of 2019 follow-ups.

Toys and electrical appliances cause the most alerts

According to the report, toys were the product category with the highest number of alerts (27% of all reports), followed e.g. by electrical appliances and accessories (10%). This shows that market surveillance in the EU has a particular focus on children, a vulnerable consumer group worthy of protection. In general, the most frequently labelled products are those that cause injuries such as fractures or concussions (25%), followed by chemical ingredients in products (18%) and products that can cause children to strangle themselves (12%).

Recommendation and advice for distributors of products in the EU

Distributors of products in the EU are advised to keep an eye on the weekly notifications from the EU Safety Gate. In the case of alerts for products that are very similar to the distributors’ own products, it is advisable to carry out a risk analysis to rule out the possibility of such products being affected.

trade-e-bility supports distributors in the preparation of risk analyses and Rapex risk assessments. Boris Berndt will be pleased to answer any questions you may have: Please call +49/40/750687-275 or send an e-mail to info@trade-e-bility.de.

Video: The European Authorised Representative (EU REP)

Non-food products are subject to numerous rules and regulations within the European Union (EU), with which compliance must be ensured by the manufacturer and/or importer. An authorised representative as contemplated by the Product Safety Act (ProdSG) – also known as EU-REP – established in the European Economic Area can assist manufacturers and importers in fulfilling certain obligations. This concerns, among other things, obligations from the ProdSG, but also the Market Surveillance Regulation (EU 2019/1020). In this case, the European Authorised Representative acts as a link between the manufacturer and the market surveillance authorities and keeps extensive information available. In the process, the authorised representative is required to perform specific tasks that will be discussed in this video.

The video is available for viewing here (YouTube)