August 16, 2007

Shanghai Surprise


From AFP: Mattel Recalls Millions of Toys, Adds to Chinese-Made-Lead-Linked List.

Toy-making giant Mattel Inc. (MAT) issued recalls Tuesday for about 9 million Chinese-made toys that contain magnets that can be swallowed by children or could have lead paint.

The recalls includes 7.3 million play sets, including Polly Pocket dolls and Batman action figures, and 253,000 die cast cars that contain lead paint. The action was announced on the company's Web site and at a news conference here by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Nancy A. Nord, acting CPSC chairman, said no injuries had been reported with any of the products involved in the new recall. Several injuries had been reported in an earlier Polly Pocket recall last November. ...

It was the latest blow to the toy industry, which has had a string of recalled products from China, ranging from faulty tires to tainted toothpaste. With more than 80 percent of toys sold worldwide made in China, toy sellers are nervous that shoppers will shy away from their products. ...

Two weeks ago, Mattel's Fisher-Price division announced the worldwide recall of 1.5 million Chinese-made preschool toys featuring characters such as Dora the Explorer, Big Bird and Elmo. About 967,000 of those toys were sold in the United States between May and August. ...

Days after the Fisher-Price recall, Chinese officials temporarily banned the toys' manufacturer, Lee Der Industrial Co., from exporting products. A Lee Der co-owner, Cheung Shu-hung, committed suicide at a warehouse over the weekend, apparently by hanging himself, a state-run newspaper reported Monday.

From AFP: China lashes "irresponsible" reaction to safety woes.

China on Thursday hit out at the foreign press and "irresponsible people" for raising fears about Chinese-made toys and other exports that have been recalled due to safety concerns.

"Some media and irresponsible people take a small problem and make it into a large one," Commerce Ministry spokesman Wang Xinpei told reporters when asked about various recalls, most recently by US toy giant Mattel.

"The Chinese government steadfastly opposes these actions by irresponsible people."

Wang did not specify who "irresponsible people" referred to, but a top US senator on Tuesday added his name to growing calls for stricter US supervision of all Chinese-made imports.

Posted by Forkum at August 16, 2007 03:31 PM