The legal basis of the RASFF is Regulation EC/178/2002 laying down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety (O.J. N° L 31 of 1 February 2002). In Articles 50, 51 and 52 scope and procedures of the RASFF are defined.
Article 50 identifies the members of the system and sets out when a RASFF notification is required:
When a RASFF member has any information about a serious health risk deriving from food or feed, it must immediately notify the European Commission using RASFF.
In particular, RASFF members have to notify the Commission if they take such measures as withdrawing or recalling food or feed products from the market in order to protect consumers’ health and if rapid action is required. They also have to notify if they agreed with the responsible operator that a food or feed should not be placed on the market if the measure is taken on account of a serious risk. The same applies when the product in question is placed on the market under conditions.
Article 51 gives the Commission the power to adopt measures implementing Article 50. A Commission Regulation is being drafted together with more detailed guidelines with implementing measures for the RASFF.
Article 52 sets out the confidentiality requirements for the RASFF. Information in the RASFF shall in general be available to the public, but members of the network are not allowed to disclose any information which by its nature is covered by professional secrecy (learn more in the Disclaimer).