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Product safety - a guide to corrective actions including recalls

Guidance explaining what you should do if you have evidence that one of your products may be unsafe.


The General Product Safety Regulations 2005 introduce duties for notifying unsafe products. In-depth advice about 'notifying' can be found on the "Unsafe Product Notification" page located within the Department for Business Innovation and Skills website (BIS).

Good practice guide

The European Commission (with BERR support) has issued a good practice guide "Product Safety in Europe" on corrective actions, including recall. The guide is aimed at improving the effectiveness of recalls of unsafe products from the community market.

If you are a producer or distributor of consumer products on sale in the European Union (EU), this guide gives you general advice about what you should do if you have evidence that one of your products may be unsafe. It is a voluntary guide to carrying out corrective actions for product safety, supported by the market surveillance authorities in Member States and consumer and trade organisations within the EU.

Producers and distributors are encouraged to consult and cooperate with the authorities in Member States when carrying out corrective actions, following any codes of practice where they exist. There may be differences between Member States in the conditions, procedures and requirements for such actions.

The guide covers all types of corrective action (not just product recall) by producers or distributors, aimed at removing a safety risk arising from a non-food product they have placed on the market.


Business application

On 4th May 2009, the Commission went live with a new "Business Application" database. Large businesses - producers and distributors - are now able to submit notifications to competent authorities of Member States and EFTA/EEA countries ("Member States") about dangerous consumer products under Article 5(3) of the General Product Safety Directive (2001/95/EC, GPSD) using the "Business Application" form.

There is no legal obligation to you use the system but the Commission would like to encourage businesses to use it. BERR will still accept RAPEX notifications using the present system.

"Business Application" consists of two parts: the notification form and the online database.

  • The notification form is intended for producers and distributors. They should complete and submit this form to inform the competent authorities of Member States via the "Business Application" that a product they have placed on the market is dangerous. All notifications will be sent to and stored in the online database.
  • The online database is intended exclusively for the authorities of Member States responsible for receiving notifications on dangerous consumer products submitted by producers and distributors. In the database, the national authorities can view and process notifications sent by businesses.

It is highly recommended that a producer or a distributor reads the Guidelines and the Manual before completing and sending the notification to the competent authorities of Member States through "Business Application".

The Business Application can be accessed at https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/gpsd-ba
(Please note BIS's update to the Commission's guidelines -Chapter 2.8 Section 8, Translation of the notification - says where a notification has been completed and is sent to a member state that does not work in one of the five working languages of the EU (English, French, German, Italian and Spanish), the notification should be translated into that and each language. We will leave to each business and surveillance authority to decide whether or not they have the resources to do this.)

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Article utilities:  Bookmark and Share Print Print this page Last updated: 21 Mar 2012 at 15:02