The European Commission announced today the results of the latest report on product safety.
The 2011 annual report concludes that due to the increasing effectiveness of the Community Rapid Information System for non-food products (RAPEX), dangerous products in the EU market were detected earlier, more effectively and withdrawn much faster.
According to the paper, the three most active countries in detecting and notifying new dangerous products, and in ensuring appropriate follow-up actions, were Spain, Bulgaria and Hungary.
The three countries reported, respectively, 189, 162 and 155 notifications. The corresponding percentages of the total notifications equalled to 12% for Spain and 10% for both Bulgaria and Hungary.
Germany and the United Kingdom follow in the list, and fall under category of the top five most active countries in RAPEX, with 130 and 105 notifications. Their respective percentages were 8% for Germany and 7% for the UK.
On the contrary, the three less active countries in the system for 2011 were Norway and Belgium (both having 8 notifications), Iceland with one notification and Lichtenstein with none.
The report found out that the Commission used the RAPEX system to distribute 1,803 notifications, of which 1,556 represented a serious risk to health and safety of European consumers. In comparison, in 2010, the number of all notifications was 2 244, of which 1 963 were classified as ‘high risk’. This information revealed, as the Commission claimed, that fewer dangerous items reached the EU market in 2011 than in 2010.
This statement was also supported when the 2011 data was compared with those of 2010 per country. In 2010, Bulgaria had 192 notification or with 30 more than in 2011.
Furthermore, compared to 2010, in 2011 Hungary had 36 notifications more. The only exception in the whole picture was Spain which happened to have an increase in notifications between 2010 and 2011 which amounted to 43.
Furthermore, clothing, textiles and fashion were most often notified through the RAPEX system. They received 423 or 27% of the total number of notification in 2011. The second most notified product category was toys with 324 notifications or 21%, followed by motor vehicles (171 notifications which amounted to 11%).
Additionally, the highest number of notifications by country of origin of the notified product came from China (839 notifications), while 128 notifications sent through RAPEX contained no information about the country of origin of the notified product.
The most notified risk categories in 2011 were injuries (481 notifications), chemical (347 notifications) and strangulation (275 notifications).
The report concluded that work was to continue in the following areas: building of system of 'Seamless Surveillance, enhancing the co-operation with third countries and finalise proposals for a legislative package on product safety and market surveillance, as well as promotion of greater awareness among businesses about their obligations.
The main objective of the RAPEX system is to ensure that ‘information about dangerous non-food consumer and professional products found in one Member State is rapidly circulated among all the other national authorities and sent to the Commission for follow-up, with the aim of preventing the supply of these products to consumers and professional users’.
The legal framework of RAPEX consists of Directive 2001/95/EC on general product safety and Regulation No 765/2008, setting out the requirements for accreditation and market surveillance relating to the marketing of products.