The Commission of the European Union (EU) has released statistics on notices of unsafe consumer products that have been processed through the EU’s rapid information system (RAPEX) for the year ending December 31, 2011.
According to the Commission’s report, 1803 notifications of products posing a serious risk to health and safety were processed through the RAPEX system during 2011. This represents a 20% decrease in notifications over 2011’s 2244 notifications, but still a nearly 400% increase in the number of notifications received in 2004, when the RAPEX system processed just 468 notifications.
In its annual report, the Commission attributes the 2011 decrease in notifications to the end of joint enforcement actions by EU member states and budgetary restrictions that led to enforcement resource constraints. However, the Commission also noted that a wider and more thorough use of RAPEX risk assessment guidelines allowed enforcement authorities in member states to better focus their attention on products posing the most serious safety risks. Seen in this light, the Commission believes that the quality and reliability of notifications were enhanced, thereby supporting more effective follow-up actions against dangerous products.
Of the 1803 notifications of products processed through the RAPEX system during the year as presenting a serious risk to consumers, 423 (27%) were related to clothing, textiles and fashion items, with an additional 324 (21%) related to toys, and 153 (10%) related to electrical appliances. There were also 171 notifications related to motor vehicles (11%), and 66 notifications (4%) related to childcare articles and children’s equipment.
Regarding the country of origin identified in connection with products posing a serious safety risk, more than half of all notifications (54%) were related to products originating from China, including Hong Kong. Another 19% of unsafe products originated in EU member states, while 8% failed to identify any country of origin.