RASFF Rapid Alerts System for Food and Feed - Safety food
The European Early Warning System (RASFF), Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed, was created in 1979, and made available to the entire population in 2014. RASFF is a tool to ensure that when risks to public health are detected , related to food, feed or packaging material in direct contact with food, is brought to the attention of the population as quickly as possible. These notifications can be consulted in: https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/rasff-window/portal/.
Regulation (EU) 178/2002 prohibits a food product from being offered for sale if it is dangerous, that is, if it poses a risk to the health of the consumer. In accordance with Article 17, the food business operator is legally the first responsible for compliance in terms of product safety, so if a food is found to be harmful to health, it must notify the relevant health authorities.
There are three main types of RASFF notifications:
- Alerts: when a product that has been marketed presents a serious risk to health and rapid action is needed.
- Information notifications: when a risk has been identified in a product marketed, but that has not reached the market of the member states or that are no longer in them and therefore the nature of the risk does not require rapid action.
- Notifications of rejection of borders: These notifications are related to the denial of a lot or cargo that has been analyzed and rejected at an external border of the EU because it poses a risk to health.
Below is the summary of alerts and RASFF during the year 2018 in food products:
Throughout the year, 3,196 notifications were detected, of which:
- 1004 were alert (31.5%)
- 949 information notifications (29.5%)
- 1243 refusals at the border (39%)
The origin of most of these notifications is distributed between Europe and Asia with 43% and 30.5% respectively.
Then, the % of notifications are shown according to the type of risk detected:
As examples of products that have been detected in Spain in 2018 that have had to be destroyed and notified to RASFF in 2018 we have high contamination of mercury in certain fish of Egypt.
If you are interested in this topic and we write more in depth about the products detected in 2019 and the risks detected, let us know in the comments.