Toy safety under scrutiny

19 September 2007
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20 September 2007 | Paul Snell

The European Commission is to begin a two-month review of toy safety controls, following another product recall of toys from China by Mattel.

The EU consumer commissioner Meglena Kuneva is to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the current EU system that detects and reacts to dangerous imported products, and see if current regulations are working effectively. "I want this two-month period to check all the links in the chain," she said.

Kuneva will discuss the issue with other European commissioners, and meet US authorities to discuss co-operation on product safety.

The British Promotional Merchandise Association welcomes the move. "They have been obliged to act, and done the right thing," said European spokeswoman Margot Parker.

Mattel began a third recall of products this month after more safety fears over some of its toys made in China. It recalled 11 more lines because they may have been finished with potentially toxic paint. The recall affected 848,000 toys, of which more than 500,000 were in the US.

After earlier recalls Mattel said it had implemented a three-stage check system to prevent further problems during manufacture. It had already recalled almost 1.5 million toys over similar fears (News, 23 August).

The potentially dangerous paint was applied by subcontractors working for Mattel's suppliers. The firm said the subcontractors were now either no longer used by Mattel or had gone out of business.

This month the US Consumer Product Safety Commission signed an agreement with its Chinese counterpart to increase inspections of consumer products exported to the US.


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