Monday, August 27, 2007

Certify Safety Of China Toys, RP Senator Urges Gov't Agencies

MANILA, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / 27 Aug) – A Philippine senator on Monday urged the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) and the Bureau of Product Standards (BPS) to promptly certify the safety of all playthings being given away by popular fast-food chains as part of their special meal bundles for kids.

"Following the Mattel recall episode, our sense is that the BFAD and the BPS should now check these China-made toys being dispensed by major fast-food stores, if only to reassure the consuming public as to the safeness of these items for children," Sen. Gregorio Honasan said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.

Honasan was referring to the China-made toys being distributed by McDonald's Corp., Jollibee Foods Corp., Kentucky Fried Chicken Corp. and other restaurants through their promotional meal packs for children.

"We certainly hope that they are absolutely harmless to, and suitable for children," said Honasan, chairman of the Senate committee on public order, safety and illegal drugs.

Due to "safety issues," El Segundo, California-based Mattel Inc., the world's largest toy maker in terms of sales, recently recalled 18.2 million products; including Barbie play sets, Polly Pocket, Dora the Explorer, Fisher-Price, Sesame Street and Sponge Bob Square Pants toys.

The "safety issues" were traced to the inadequate product quality standards of Mattel's contract manufacturer in China.

Embarrassed by the Mattel recall and a prior similar incident involving tainted toothpaste, China has vowed to improve its product quality controls and safety standards.

"We understand that all the toys being distributed by these fast-foot outlets are manufactured in China by firms exclusively contracted by the (restaurant) chains themselves."

"The BFAD and the BPS are duty-bound to now examine these made-in-China toys, and then come out and categorically assure everyone that these products are totally safe," Honasan said.

At the close of the Manila meeting of the economic ministers of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, China's trade minister pledged "to deal with product quality-related issues."

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