Mattel recalls millions of hazardous toys

Mattel, the world's largest toy maker, has recalled two million toys sold in the UK, saying they posed a safety risk.

Mattel recalls millions of hazardous toys

Mattel, the world's largest toy maker, has recalled two million toys sold in the UK, saying they posed a safety risk.

In what is believed to be one of the biggest product recalls the UK has seen, the company recalled hundreds of thousands of Polly Pocket and Batman toys because of fears that magnets could come lose and be swallowed by young children.

It is also recalling 49,000 Chinese-made toy cars, which may contain excessive levels of lead paint.

Many of these toys were made up to five years ago and are likely to be buried at the bottom of toy boxes, but parents are being urged to take back any of the affected toys to a shop to get a full refund.

This is the latest in a long line of "Made in China" products that have been recalled around a world, from toothpaste to tyres – a phenomenon that is causing a growing consumer and political backlash in the United States.

Experts are predicting the latest scare could trigger a similar reaction amongst UK shoppers and deal a blow to the beleaguered toy industry.

Only last week Fisher Price, owned by Mattel, pulled nearly 100,000 toys in the UK because of fears they were covered with poisonous paint.

The latest scare also involves toys with unsafe paint. Nearly 50,000 die-cast Sarge cars – from the hit animated film Cars – made in China between May and July this year were found to have "impermissible levels of lead", the company said.

The other toys – 1.9 million in the UK – have small magnets that could come loose and "cause intestinal problems" if a young child was to swallow them, said a spokesman for Mattel.

Polly Pocket, a favourite among young girls, is the most badly affected by the recall with 53 different lines having problems. Batman, Barbie and Doggie Day Care are the other magnetic toys affected, all of which were made between 2001 and earlier this year.

Richard Perks, analyst at market researchers Mintel, said: "This is an enormous recall and very bad news for the toy industry, which has had a terrible few years.

"Children are losing interest in toys at a younger and younger age because they want computer games and mobile phones.

"This is another reason for parents not to buy toys, if they feel they can no longer trust the products."

The recall is part of a worldwide recall that affects nearly 19 million toys across the globe.

It comes after Mattel introduced a new checking system in the wake of problems with paint used by a Chinese sub-contractor.

Another Chinese sub-contractor of Mattel found itself pushed uncomfortably into the spotlight this week when its boss was reported to have committed suicide, following his company being named as being one of those partly responsible for last week's recall.

Robert Nathan at the British Toymakers Guild, which represents the handful of toy firms left in the UK, said: "I have sympathy for Mattel, but I think this sort of thing was unavoidable.

A lot of companies have discovered that if you outsource your manufacturing to China quality control can become a major issue."

He predicted that shoppers would increasingly look at the label of where toys were made before buying. "There's no backlash yet, but I think sentiment is changing about Made in China," he said.

Mattel said that the this recall together with the one announced last week would cost the company $30 million (£15 million).

Mattel's chief executive Robert Eckert said: "The safety of children is our primary concern, and we are deeply apologetic to everyone affected.

"Mattel has rigorous procedures, and we will continue to be vigilant and unforgiving in enforcing quality and safety."

There have been no reported injuries as a result of the manufacturing problems, a UK spokeswoman for Mattel said.

Telegraph

Last Mod: 15 Ağustos 2007, 13:11
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