General product safety directive

EU rules on product safety are defined in the general product safety directive. Under the directive a product is safe if it meets all statutory safety requirements under European or national law.

If there are no regulations or EU standards, the product's compliance is determined according to other reference documents such as national standards, Commission recommendations, codes of practice.


The directive does not cover the following products, which are regulated separately

  • pharmaceuticals
  • medical devices
  • food

Responsibilities of businesses and authorities

‚ÄčIt is the responsibility of businesses and national authorities to ensure that only safe products are for sale.

Businesses must

  • only place products which are safe on the market
  • inform consumers of any risks associated with the products they supply 
  • make sure any dangerous products present on the market can be traced so they can be removed to avoid any risks to consumers

Appointed national authorites 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
  • apply sanctions when necessary

National authorities also send information about dangerous products found on the market to the rapid alert system for dangerous non-food products.

Official documents from the 2018 media event
Commissioner's speech broadcast on the Commission's "Europe by Satellite" website
Press release
Annual report
Factsheet - Rapid Alert System - 2017 results