RAPEX a is a rapid alert system that has been set up to detect dangerous non-food products that enter the European market from third countries. RAPEX functioning in the past years (it was set up in 2004) has greatly improved allowing for earlier detection of risky products (even at the point of entry) and effective removal of such products from the EU market. (Consumers: latest report on safety of products shows fewer dangerous items reaching the EU market)
The report on the functioning of RAPEX in 2011 shows that China remained the number one country who triggers the alert (with more than half of RAPEX notifications). Most significant is the decline from 23% in 2004 to 8% last year of notifying risky products of unknown origin. The RAPEX system allows for more precise identification with every year. The most frequently notified products are: clothing, textiles, toys and motor vehicles. The countries who notify the most are: Spain, Bulgaria, Hungary, Germany and the United Kingdom.
In order to improve product safety the European Commission is busy creating a new system of 'Seamless Surveillance' that would allow for tracking a product down the length of the industrial chain, from the manufacturer all the way to the consumer.