Retailing, Franchising, and Consumerism Business Intelligence in China

Mattel Recalls China-Made Toys

Mattel has voluntarily issued a toy recall related to finding excessive amounts of lead paint in its manufactured items.

"We have immediately implemented a strengthened three-point check system: First, we're requiring that only paint from certified suppliers be used and requiring every single batch of paint at every single vendor to be tested. If it doesn't pass, it doesn't get used. Second, we are tightening controls throughout the production process at vendor facilities and increasing unannounced random inspections. Third, we're testing every production run of finished toys to ensure compliance before they reach our customers. We've met with vendors to ensure they understand our tightened procedures and our absolute requirement of strict adherence to them," said Jim Walter, senior vice president of Worldwide Quality Assurance, Mattel.

The Sarge toy from the "CARS" die-cast vehicle line, manufactured between May 2007 and July 2007, reportedly contains high levels of lead. Mattel has recalled 436,000 of these toy vehicles.

The recall of the Sarge toy results from Mattel's increased investigation and ongoing testing procedures following the recall of select Fisher-Price toys on August 1, 2007. The toy was produced by Early Light Industrial Company, one of Mattel's contract manufacturing facilities in China, which subcontracted the painting of parts of the toy to another Chinese vendor, Hong Li Da. While the painting subcontractor, HLD, was required to utilize paint supplied directly from Early Light, it instead violated Mattel's standards and utilized paint from a non-authorized third-party supplier.

Additionally, Mattel announced the voluntary recall of magnetic toys manufactured between January 2002 and January 31, 2007, including certain dolls, figures, play sets and accessories that may release small, powerful magnets. The recall expands upon Mattel's voluntary recall of eight toys in November 2006 and is based on a thorough internal review of all Mattel's brands. Mattel is recalling 18.2 million magnetic toys globally.

"Since our November 2006 magnet-related recall, we have implemented more robust magnet retention systems and more rigorous testing. We are exercising caution and have expanded the list of recalled magnetic toys due to potential safety risks associated with toys that might have loose magnets," said Walter.

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