General Product Safety Directive (GPSD)
A safe products only policy
Looking for a product to buy in a shop oron the itnernet is a common frequent activity to everybody. The General Product Safety Directive (GPSD) 2001/95/EC aim is to ensure that only safe products are made available on the market.
The GPSD applies in the absence of other EU legislation, national standards, Commission recommendations or codes of practice relating to safety of products. It also complements sector specific legislation. Specific rules exist for the safety of toys, electrical and electronic goods, cosmetics, chemicals and other specific product groups. The GPSD does not cover pharmaceuticals, medical devices or food, which fall under separate legislation.
Businesses and national authorities are responsible that only safe products are for sale
The GPSD establishes obligations to both businesses and Member States' authorities.
Businesses should place only products which are safe on the market, inform consumers of any risks associated with the products they supply. They also have to make sure any dangerous products present on the market can be traced so they can be removed to avoid any risks to consumers.
Member States, through their appointed national authorities , are responsible for market surveillance. They check whether products available on the market are safe, ensure product safety legislation and rules are applied by manufacturers and business chains and apply sanctions when necessary.
Member States should also send information about dangerous products found on the market to the Rapid Alert System for non-food dangerous products (RAPEX). This is a cooperation tool enabling rapid communication between EU, EEA authorities about dangerous products to be able to trace them everywhere on the European market. Third countries like China and international institutions are also involved.
Market surveillance authorities cooperate closely with customs, which play a major role in protecting consumers from any imported unsafe products coming from outside the EU.
Thanks to joint projects co-financed by the European Commission Member States authorities cooperate on the enforcement of market surveillance rules on the single market. These actions target selected products found on the market that are tested for possible risks to health and safety of consumers. They also provide further coordinated activities to exchange best practices on market surveillance.
The European Commission may adopt a formal temporary Decision requiring the Member States to ban the marketing of a product posing a serious risk, to recall it from consumers or to withdraw it from the market. Such Decisions can however be taken only under strict specific conditions. Emergency measures were taken for example for products containing Dimethylfumarate (DMF).
Revision of the GPSD
The European Commission wants to improve consumer product safety and to strengthen market surveillance of products in the EU. A package proposal in this sense and adopted by the Commission in 2013 was submitted to the European Parliament and the Council.
Follow the State of play of the legislative process regarding the Commission proposals for a Consumer Product Safety Regulation and a Market Surveillance Regulation.