On 2 March, the European Commission published its annual report and factsheets on the Safety Gate, which is the EU rapid alert system for dangerous consumer products helping to take dangerous non-food products off the market. The findings show that in 2020, a record number of 2253 alerts for dangerous products were exchanged through the RAPEX system. The report also shows that the number of actions taken by authorities following an alert is growing year by year, reaching a new record number of 5,377 in 2020, compared to 4,477 in 2019.
Among all alerts raised in 2020, 9% concerned products related to COVID-19, such as 161 alerts on masks, 3 alerts on specific overalls, 13 alerts on hand disinfectants and 18 alerts on UV lamps supposed to function as sterilizers. Overall, the most notified product categories were toys (27% of total notifications), motor vehicles (21%) and electrical appliances and equipment (10%). According to the report, the findings show that market surveillance in the EU has a specific focus on children as a vulnerable consumer group. In general, the most frequently flagged concerns were about products causing injuries such as fractures or concussions (25%), followed by chemical components in products (18%) and risks for children to choke (12%).
An increasing number of online marketplaces is signing the Product Safety Pledge, and thereby make the commitment to take actions to keep online shoppers safe from harmful products. The Pledge is a voluntary commitment, which goes beyond product safety legal obligations.
In terms of next steps, the Commission rewards businesses that go the extra mile to protect consumers with the EU’s Product Safety Award. The 2021 edition was launched for applications on 1 March and is open until 30 April 2021.