Protecting EU Consumers from Dangerous Products

The European Commission has recently published its latest report on the Rapid Alert System for dangerous products.


What is the Rapid Alert System?

The system ensures that information about dangerous products withdrawn from the market and/or recalled from consumers anywhere in Europe is quickly circulated between Member States and the European Commission, so that appropriate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 (EU Member States together with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) participate in the system.

The latest report reveals more active use of the system in 2016 by national authorities, who removed more dangerous products from stores. During the year there were 2,044 alerts on dangerous products circulated among national authorities, which prompted 3,824 follow-up actions, such as product recalls. The number of reactions was more than twice as high as the previous years, and the report says that this shows that national authorities are following up more closely on alerts and taking all necessary measures to make the market a safer place for consumers.

The problem of online platforms

However, it highlights that more and more of the dangerous products notified in the Rapid Alert System are sold on online platforms, which is why the Commission has stepped up its cooperation with Amazon, Ebay and Alibaba to tackle more actively potentially unsafe or non-compliant products from their websites that sell to consumers in the EU.

"Consumers need to be protected from dangerous products. And this protection must apply both online and offline,” commented Vera Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality. “Therefore I am pleased that we could agree with Amazon, Ebay and Alibaba to join efforts to remove products notified through the Rapid Alert System from their websites, and I call on others to follow suit.”

According to the report, toys was the most notified product category (26%) in 2016, followed by motor vehicles (18%), and clothing, textiles and fashion items (13%).

The risk most often notified was injury (25%), followed by chemical risk (23%).

The majority of dangerous products notified in the system apparently came from outside the EU. China was indicated as a country of origin for 53% (1,069) of notified products. However, the report also reveals that there was a 9% drop in the number of alerts on products from China from 62% in 2015 to 53% in 2016.

Future Developments

The Commission has said that it intends to continue working on improving the Rapid Alert System to make it even more convenient for the authorities to use on a daily basis.

In addition, it will carry on cooperating with Chinese authorities through exchanges of information on dangerous products on which they take action "at source", in China.

It will also continue working with online marketplace to ensure they take action against unsafe products. In order to support controls by authorities, the Commission is preparing a practical guidance on the market surveillance of products sold online.

Contact Us

If you have suffered an injury as a result of a faulty or dangerous product, and would like to find out more about making a personal injury claim, then contact our specialist personal injury lawyers today.

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