The European Rapid Alert system, the RASFF, aims at reporting, at the level of the European Union, any direct or indirect risks for human health.
These risks arise from identified hazards in food or in animal feed.
The RASFF is a platform to which the member states participate (through national food agencies such as the Federal Agency (AFSCA) in Belgium)) as well as the European Commission and the European Agency for food safety (EFSA).
More information on this platform operation can be found in the European Legislation (EU) no. 16/2011 of 10 January 2011 laying down implementation measures for the Rapid Alert system for food and animal feed. (link to the online text
In short, once a platform member has any information regarding the existence of a serious hazard, whether directly or indirectly relating to food or to animal feed, it will be transmitted immediately through the Rapid Alert System to all other participants of this platform.
This sort of information can be obtained:
- During official controls conducted upon importation of products on European territory, or on the territory of Member States;
- Through mandatory notification by companies having detected these hazard in the framework of their own auto-control system;
- As a result of complaints by consumers to the Competent Authorities;
- Due to food poisoning.
Four types of notifications are distinguished:
- An ALERT: This type of notification is used when an animal feed or food present a serious health risk to the market and prompt action is required.
- Information –notifications are used when a hazard was identified in food or in animal feed, already on the marked, but for which the platform members are not required to take immediate action (the national market is not involved, or the nature of the hazard requires no immediate action).
- Notification of refusal at the borders, regarding food and feed which, during control at the borders of the European Union, a hazard was detected. The platform members will be alerted so that they can tighten their controls.
- News item: any information regarding food safety, not communicated in one of the above mentioned types of notification, but considered interesting for the inspection authorities.
This information enables companies to refine their hazard analysis and subsequently their monitoring plan. The controlling Certification Bodies may also find enough material to enhance their training and adapt their company controls.
To facilitate any data search, OVOCOM publishes regularly, a compilation of various notifications through this portal (for the 4 above mentioned notifications) in an excel sheet.
The purpose of this document is not to replace any official information, nor to inform/warn companies of the occurrence of any hazards on the market. For this, users should refer directly to the RASFF portal or any other official source of information which can be consulted on a regular basis.
With this document OVOCOM only wishes to provide a synthesis with the identified hazards from the RASFF database and are applicable to feed.
In this way, the companies and Certification Bodies may expand their knowledge of the animal feed/ hazard combinations and be made aware of potential new hazards
If a combination of an animal feed and a hazard are not included in this synthesis, this does not mean that the hazard is non-existent in this product, but only that it was not identified during the indicated period.