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Consumers (26-01-2010)

New "RAPEX" Guidelines

For the management of the EU's product safety rapid information system
Today, the Commission published new guidelines for easier and better notification of dangerous consumer products found in the EU. Such guidelines are foreseen under the General Product Safety Directive and are regularly updated in the light of new developments, experience and best practice. This is now important given the quadrupling of notifications in the last five years (more than 1800 per year and growing) and the rapidly deepening and broadening cooperation between partners both in Europe and worldwide.
The Guidelines concern the operation and management of the two types of notification procedure: i) in relation to products posing serious risks, (notified in the Community Rapid Information System "RAPEX"); ii) in relation to products posing a non-serious risk.
The new Guidelines have a clearer structure and layout and consequently information will be more accessible to the national authorities, more uniform and less open to interpretation. They explain the data to be included in any notification, provide a standard notification form, present criteria for the different kinds of notifications and criteria for the classification of notifications in terms of urgency. They also define operating arrangements, including deadlines for various steps in the notification procedures.
Easier, more precise, and more effective notifications will serve a number of growing needs, including: the need to increase the traceability of dangerous products; the need to strengthen and broaden cooperation between market surveillance and customs authorities; the need for enhanced cooperation and information exchange with third countries, such as China; as well as the need to reflect the existence of the new "Business Application" and the upcoming General Rapid Alert System "GRAS/RAPEX". One particularly important revision concerns the risk assessment method, developed in cooperation with stakeholders, which is now more comprehensive and transparent and is recommended to all national authorities to assess the safety of consumer products.
For more information see: