The EU has one of the highest food safety standards in the world – largely thanks to the solid set of EU legislation in place, which ensures that food is safe for consumers. A key tool to ensure the cross-border follow of information to swiftly react when risks to public health are detected in the food chain is RASFF – the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed.
Created in 1979, RASFF enables information to be shared efficiently between its members (EU-28 national food safety authorities, Commission, EFSA, ESA, Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Switzerland) and provides a round-the-clock service to ensure that urgent notifications are sent, received and responded to collectively and efficiently. Thanks to RASFF, many food safety risks had been averted before they could have been harmful to European consumers.
Vital information exchanged through RASFF can lead to products being recalled from the market. A robust system, which has matured over the years, RASFF continues to show its value to ensure food safety in the EU and beyond.
The RASFF annual report 2015 gives a profound insight into the activity of the RASFF giving detailed figures for the types of notifications, products, hazards and countries that have been reported through the RASFF in 2015, including important developments in what is reported in the system as well as about the system itself.
The RASFF portal features an interactive searchable online RASFF database. It gives public access to summary information about the most recently transmitted RASFF notifications as well as search for information on any notification issued in the past.
Since June 2014, consumers have had the use of a new tool, the RASFF consumers' portal, which provides latest information on food recalls and public health warnings in all EU countries.
The European Commission created the RASFF database to keep its information as transparent as possible to the consumers, business operators and authorities around the world. In doing so, however, it needs to strike a balance between openness and protection of information that could lead to disproportionate economic damage (learn more in the Disclaimer).