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IP/07/1217

Brussels, 6 August 2007

Consumers: Chinese toys containing lead from Fisher Price recalled in Europe

The European Commission today confirmed reception of a RAPEX notification from the British authority concerning Fisher Price (owned by Mattel Inc.) toys produced in China using a paint pigment containing lead.

RAPEX is the EU rapid alert system for dangerous non-food consumer products, providing a rapid exchange of information between Member States and the Commission to prevent marketing or use of products posing a serious risk to the health and safety of consumers.

The notification made today by the British authority lists 83 Nickelodeon and Sesame Street toys that are being recalled by Mattel in Europe. On the basis of the notification, toys containing lead, made by a contract manufacturer in China, were sold in 11 EU countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom, and in Croatia and Switzerland. According to Mattel, the majority of the stock is still in warehouses and the number of toys that have reached consumers (at least in certain countries) is very low.

The Commission has immediately forwarded the RAPEX notification concerning Fisher Price toys to the competent authorities of 30 European countries participating in RAPEX. The national authorities are closely cooperating with Mattel, which launched a voluntary recall campaign in this case, to ensure that no dangerous toys are left on the market.

The recall follows the visit of the Commissioner for Consumer affairs Meglena Kuneva to China last week. During her talks with the Chinese authorities, the Commissioner stressed that "There can be no compromise on the safety of European citizens and that EU wants to intensify its co-operation with China to preserve consumer confidence in the market".

As a result of the Commissioner's visit, the Chinese authorities agreed to step up their enforcement activities and to provide the Commission with a detailed report in October on their preventive market surveillance mechanisms and follow-up actions to RAPEX alerts concerning Chinese products. The Report will feed into the preparations for the EU-China leaders' Summit in November when President Barroso will meet with the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

The October report is part of a broader commitment on the part of the Chinese authorities to provide more detailed regular quarterly reporting on the follow-up actions on alerts from the European market. From the European side, the Commission will continue to provide the Chinese with the level of specific information they need to track down and investigate alerts of dangerous products. The Commission and the Chinese authorities have also agreed to step up training seminars, exchange of officials and technical assistance which have been put in place under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding between the authorities.


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