Mattel UK announced today it was recalling more than 2,500 Chinese-made Barbie toys that may contain excessive amounts of lead paint.
Mattel, the world’s largest toy maker, has already been battered by two high-profile recalls this summer. The toys being recalled by Mattel UK are seven Barbie playset accessories. No Barbie dolls are included in the recall.
Toys on sale in the UK affected by the recall are:
• Barbie Dream Puppy House Playset - orange on miniature dog J9485;
• Barbie Dream Kitty Condo Playset - brown on miniature cat J9486;
• Barbie Table & Chairs Kitchen Playset - yellow food of two dinner plates, brown on miniature dog, yellow and orange on potato chip bowl orange on salad bowl K8606;
• Barbie Bathtub & Toilet Bathroom Playset - brown on miniature cat K8607;
• Barbie Futon & Table Living Room Playset - brown on miniature cat K8608;
• Barbie Desk & Chair Bedroom Playset - brown on miniature dog K8609;
• Barbie Couch & Table Living Room Playset - yellow flower on purse K8613;
Mattel UK said a total of 2,540 toys were affected in the UK and said the Republic of Ireland was not affected by this recall.
It says the recall is due to a continuing investigation of its toys manufactured by vendors in China following two high-profile recalls this year involving Chinese-manufactured toys.
Globally the firm is recalling 700,000 toys that have excessive amounts of lead paint.
Last month Mattel was forced to issue two product recalls, pulling 94,00 Fisher-Price toys off the shelves in the UK and Ireland at the start of the month and a fortnight later on August 14 removing nearly two million Polly Pocket, Batman and Barbie toys, on both occasions blaming the Chinese manufacturers.
Two weeks ago famous London toy shop Hamleys was forced to withdraw children’s jewellery imported from China containing potentially fatal levels of lead.
Robert Eckert, chairman and chief executive officer of Mattel said: "In August we promised that we’d continue to focus on ensuring the safety and quality of our toys through extensive testing of finished products, thorough investigation of our vendors and the implementation of a strengthened three-point check system.
"As a result of our ongoing investigation we discovered additional affected products.
"Consequently, several subcontractors are no longer manufacturing Mattel toys. We apologise again to everyone affected and promise that we will continue to focus on ensuring the safety and quality of our toys."
The playsets affected by today’s recall were produced by Holder Plastic Company (Holder), a Mattel contract vendor, which sub-contracted the painting of miniature toy pets and small furniture pieces to Dong Lian Fa (DLF) and Yip Sing (YS). DLF and YS used uncertified paint and are no longer producing toys for Mattel.
Mattel’s investigation revealed that the sub-contractors painted the affected toys between March 2007 and August 2007.
However Mattel says it is being cautious and recalling the entire production of the seven toys painted by the subcontractors.
Toys manufactured beginning in October 2006 are included within the recall. The toys being recalled were sold between October 2006 and August 2007.
Christopher Devereux, a British businessman based in Guangzhou, China for five years, said there were still plenty of dubious manufacturers in the country.
Industry expert Mr Devereux, managing director of ChinaSavvy, which helps foreign buyers find Chinese factories that make products such as plastic parts, said numerous Chinese factories were making high-quality products at unbeatable prices.
He said foreign buyers must constantly monitor and inspect their Chinese suppliers - a lesson learned by Mattel.
"I really don’t have any sympathy for Mattel," he said.
"There’s no excuse to let so much product go through with lead in its paint. They should be testing.
"It’s not difficult. There are hundreds of quality control laboratories in China."
A Mattel spokeswoman said it was working in co-operation with the UK Trading Standards, US Consumer Product Safety Commission and other regulatory agencies.
Mattel is also working with retailers worldwide to identify and remove affected products from retail shelves.
Anyone requiring additional information regarding this recall, including a list of affected products, contact Mattel UK on 0808 234 8437, or visit the company’s website at www.service.mattel.com/uk.