RAPEX is established as the EU rapid alert system that facilitates the rapid exchange of information between Member States and the Commission on measures taken to prevent or restrict the marketing or use of products posing a serious risk to the health and safety of consumers with the exception of food, pharmaceutical and medical devices, which are covered by other mechanisms.
As of 2010, the system also facilitates the rapid exchange of information on products subject to EU harmonisation regulation and posing a serious risk to the health and safety of professional users as well as on those posing a serious risk to other public interests protected via the relevant EU legislation (e.g. environment and security). Both measures ordered by national authorities and measures taken 'voluntarily' by producers and distributors are reported by RAPEX.
Every Friday, the Commission publishes a weekly overview of the products posing a serious risk as reported by the national authorities (the RAPEX notifications). This weekly overview gives information on the product, the identified risk and the measures that were taken in the notifying country. The Commission also publishes the list of other countries where the notified product was found on their market and measures were taken. Since 2013, the Commission also publishes notifications on products posing less than serious risk as well as notifications on professional products and on those posing a risk to other public interests protected via the relevant EU legislation (e.g. environment and security).