EU rules on product safety ensure that only safe products are sold on the market. The General Product Safety Directive also complements sector specific legislation. Specific safety rules apply to toys, electrical and electronic goods, cosmetics, chemicals and other specific product groups.
The General Product Safety Directive does not cover pharmaceuticals, medical devices or food, which fall under separate legislation. Businesses should only sell products which are safe, and 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.
Market surveillance: EU countries are responsible
EU countries are responsible for market surveillance on their territory, through their national contact points. They check whether products available on the market are safe, and that product safety legislation and rules are applied. National authorities can also impose sanctions when necessary.
Rapid Alert System for dangerous non-food products
The Rapid Alert System enables 31 European countries and the European Commission to quickly exchange information on dangerous non-food products. Products that are a risk to health and safety can be traced and swiftly taken off the market.
If a dangerous product is found in any of the countries that participate in the system, the national authority should send information about the product to the Rapid Alert System for dangerous non-food products.
Market surveillance authorities cooperate closely with customs, which play a major role in protecting consumers from any unsafe products imported from outside the EU.
Consumer Safety Network
The Consumer Safety Network is a consultative expert group chaired by the European Commission and made up of national experts from the administrations of EU countries, as well as Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
The safety of consumer products such as lighters and of consumer services, including fire safety in hotels are the main areas of discussion.
The network meets on average three times a year.
Consumer Safety Network meetings & minutes