Monday March 19, 2018
RAPEX System Receives Data Revamp, 2017 Report Is Available
How the European Commission reports its RAPEX data to the public and, in many cases, the numbers themselves have changed. This coincides with the EC's March 12 release of its report on 2017 data from the product safety reporting system.
The new format is an online database (bit.ly/2GmX2jN) rather than a monthly, document-form report. The last available of the old format was November 2017 (PSL, 12/11/17).
The new database format is rooted in the existing categories – the user can search by country, year, month, product-types, risk-types, etc. as well as combined subsets. However, previously not easy comparisons are possible.
For example, the user readily and quickly can learn how many RAPEX reports came from Austria in Januaries of numerous years. Previously, that required manually accessing each of the corresponding monthly reports.
On the other hand, data in the new format go back to only 2011, so information from earlier years still requires manual checking. The RAPEX system began in 2003.
An interesting difference with the new format is many tallies have changed. That occurred occasionally over the life of RAPEX as EC staff updated or corrected the data, and the month-by-month comparison charts run by PSL noted these irregular fluctuations in a footnote.
However the new changes are more widespread. Whether they are a significant or minor refinement is another question. For example, nearly all of the monthly tallies rose slightly – November 2017 system-wide was 218 reports and now is 233; October 2017 was 154 and now is 164; and so on. This means that annual tallies all are higher, but they still compare to each other similarly to before.
There also is a terminology change. The database uses follow-up to refer to what used to be reactions – notices by countries about their handling of products about which other nations issued primary RAPEX alerts. Those numbers also have changed similarly to the way alerts changed.
Meanwhile the EC provided analysis (bit.ly/2DpnLcm) of the RAPEX system during 2017, including that participating nations sent 2,201 alerts and 3,952 follow-ups. Highlights of top appearances in selected categories included:
Country-by-country trends, of course, show different top appearances. Much of that drill-down is in the report or is accessible via the new database. An example would be most frequent products by nations with the most alerts:
For comparison, some of the new annual tallies of primary notices versus previous ones are 2017 (2,201 | NA), 2016 (2,125 | 2,053), 2015 (2,119 | 2,073), 2014 (2,438 | 2,388), 2013 (2,381 | 2,364), and 2012 (2,305 | 2,278).