RAPEX Report shows rise in number of dangerous products being detected

The number of dangerous products removed from the EU market rose by 53% in 2007 compared to in 2006, the Commission's annual report on the Rapid Alert System (RAPEX) reveals today. This rise from 1 051 notifications in 2006 to 1 605 last year shows that Member States' surveillance capacities are improving year on year

Toys were by far the most notified product category in 2007, confirming that child safety is a top-ranking priority for market surveillance authorities, although motor vehicles, electrical goods and cosmetics also featured prominently in the RAPEX system.

Out of all member states Germany was the most active Member State in the RAPEX system (163 notifications, approx 12%), followed by Greece (115 notifications, approx 8% ) and Slovakia (114 notifications, approx 8%), Hungary (109 notifications approx 8% and Spain 108 notifications approx 8%) .

Once again, China was the country of origin for more than half of all risky products found (700 notifications). This can be partly explained the high number of products imported into the EU from China and the intensified focus of market surveillance authorities on Chinese products following the "summer of recalls" last year. In this light, Commissioner Kuneva presented an update on the extensive work which is being done to strengthen enforcement controls following the recommendations of the Commission's product safety "stocktaking" review last autumn.

In this way the Commission has significantly intensified its cooperation on product safety with China in the last year. In particular, since Commissioner Kuneva first visited China in June 2007, a new system of quarterly reporting on Chinese enforcement actions - to track down at source dangerous goods notified within RAPEX China system - has been put in place. The first trends are positive. The Chinese authorities investigated 184 RAPEX cases between July and September 2007 compared with just 84 cases in the previous 12 months. Corrective actions were taken in 43% of the cases. The quarterly report for September to November 2007 shows that the Chinese authorities sustained the follow-up activity and investigated 89 further notifications from the EU. In addition, it was reported that China made a significant effort to strengthen controls on toys.

What is RAPEX?

RAPEX is the EU rapid alert system for dangerous consumer products – with the exception of food, pharmaceutical and medical devices, which are covered by other mechanisms. It facilitates the rapid exchange of information between Member States and the Commission on measures taken to prevent or restrict the marketing or use of products posing a serious risk to the health and safety of consumers. Both measures ordered by national authorities and measures taken voluntarily by producers and distributors are reported by RAPEX.