EU rapid alert system RAPEX

RAPEX (Rapid Alert System for dangerous non-food products) was set up in 2004 to provide a means for the rapid exchange of information between the Member States and the Commission on preventive and restrictive measures taken concerning consumer products posing a serious risk to the health and safety of consumers. Besides, Member States inform the Commission of the follow-up results to RAPEX notifications in response notification.

The information transmitted via RAPEX will help:

  • prevent and limit the supply of dangerous products to consumers on the EU market;
  • Monitor the effectiveness and consistency of market surveillance and enforcement activities by national authorities;
  • identify needs and provide a basis for action at the EU level;
  • facilitate the consistent enforcement of EU product safety requirements and the smooth functioning of the internal market.

Which products are covered by RAPEX?

  1. "Products intended for consumers" means products designed, manufactured, and made available to consumers.
  2. "Products migrating to the consumer market" means products that are designed and manufactured for professional users but which, under reasonably foreseeable conditions, are likely to be used by average consumers. E.g., consumer goods made available through services (rental of machines, rental of tools for professional users).

Which products are not covered by RAPEX?

  1. Pharmaceutical products (covered by Directives 75/318/EEC and 81/851/EEC);
  2. Medical devices (covered by Directives 90/385/EEC, 90/42/EEC and 90/385/EEC);
  3. Food and feed (covered by Regulation (EC) No 178/2002).

An economic operator knows or ought to know, based on the information in his possession and professional judgment, that a product he has placed on the market or has distributed cannot be considered safe. He shall immediately inform the market surveillance authority supervising that product group.

In the case of a severe risk, the manufacturer, importer, or distributor will notify the market surveillance authority:

  • information enabling the product or range of products concerned to be identified accurately;
  • a full description of the risk posed by the product;
  • data allowing the identification of previous and subsequent carriers and suppliers of the product;
  • information on the precautions taken to avoid the risks;
  • any other information required by the market surveillance authority.   

The market surveillance authority will also, where appropriate (if the product presents a serious risk to consumers and is available in more than one EU country), forward this information via RAPEX to the Commission and other participating countries.

It is important to note that manufacturers and distributors do not have to notify the national market surveillance authorities if a product they have placed on the market is defective but safe to use. Likewise, a manufacturer/distributor does not need to send a dangerous product notification if he knows that another economic operator has already informed the national market surveillance authorities of the risk and all the necessary information has been provided.

Information on products notified through the RAPEX system will be published on the RAPEX website in the form of weekly reviews. The Weekly Summaries are available in English and can be consulted on the European Commission website.

The Weekly Review publishes the main details of the products found to be unsafe and covered by the restrictions (product name, brand, identification code (EAN, item number, etc.), product photos, notifying country, measures taken, and risks posed by the product.

This information is available to all interested parties. The Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority recommends that traders selling consumer products visit this page at least once a week and check the new weekly overview to find out which dangerous products have been detected on the EU market and to check that no such hazardous products have been imported or distributed by them. Indeed, checking the products published in the Weekly Review will give a good indication to the business operator for future product selection, being more aware of the risks associated with a particular product group (it will also provide the opportunity to better defend themselves by requiring the manufacturer or importer to carry out additional testing, etc.). Familiarising oneself with the weekly notifications of the information exchange system can positively impact product safety and reduce the import or marketing of dangerous products. This system will provide economic operators with a rapid overview of hazardous products detected on the EU market.

The safety of products and services offered should be a priority for every business. One way to ensure product safety is to keep up to date with dangerous products detected on the EU market. And the best way to do this is by using the rapid exchange of information system RAPEX.

More information on the RAPEX system and how it works is available on the European Commission's website here.

The RAPEX contact point in Estonia is the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority.

Last updated: 06.04.2021