The Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed
The 2018 RASFF annual reports (infograph) provides a profound insight into the activity of the RASFF in 2018. The data on the notifications by the EU countries are analysed and presented by country, type of food and type of hazard.
The RASFF was put in place to provide food and feed control authorities with an effective tool to exchange information about measures taken responding to serious risks detected in relation to food or feed. This exchange of information helps Member States to act more rapidly and in a coordinated manner in response to a health threat caused by food or feed. Its effectiveness is ensured by keeping its structure simple: it consists essentially of clearly identified contact points in the Commission, EFSA, EEA and at national level in member countries exchanging information in a clear and structured way by means of an online system called iRASFF.
The legal basis of the RASFF is Regulation (EC) N. 178/2002. Article 50 of this Regulation establishes the rapid alert system for food and feed as a network involving the Member States, the Commission as member and manager of the system and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Also Switzerland and the EEA countries Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland are longstanding members of the RASFF. Whenever a member of the network has any information relating to the existence of a serious direct or indirect risk to human health deriving from food or feed, this information is immediately notified to the Commission under the RASFF. The Commission immediately transmits this information to the members of the network.
Article 50.3 of the Regulation lays down additional criteria for when a RASFF notification is required.
RASFF notifications usually report on risks identified in food, feed or food contact materials that are placed on the market in the notifying country or detained at an EU point of entry at the border with an EU neighbouring country.
The notifying country reports on the risks it has identified, the product and its traceability and the measures it has taken. According to the seriousness of the risks identified and the distribution of the product on the market, the RASFF notification is classified after verification by the Commission contact point as alert, information or border rejection notification before the Commission contact point transmits it to all network members