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Mattel India to recall made-in-China toys

August 03, 2007 10:59 IST

Following the global recall of made-in-China Fisher-Price toys, Mattel India will recall the range from the local market.

The worldwide recall involves plastic pre-school toys, including replicas of popular children's television characters such as the Cookie Monster, Elmo, Dora and Big Bird, which were manufactured in China and coated with paint that contains excessive amounts of lead.

Mattel, Fisher-Price's parent, said the lead was detected by internal tests and reported to US authorities as it breached regulations that allowed up to 0.06 per cent lead content in children's toys.

Sanjay Luthra, managing director, Mattel India, told Business Standard, "The shipment was received in June and we have already got in touch with retailers to stop the distribution of these products."

He added that even as a few toys might have gone out into the market, the number would be insignificant. Mattel owns 14 brands, including the Fisher-Price brand range.

Rival Funskool, however, maintained that it would remain largely unaffected by the rising global concerns.

In June, 1.5 million models of Fisher-Price's Thomas the Tank Engine toys were recalled from the US markets for the same reason. This time around, 87 models were recalled, including replicas of popular children's television characters such as the Cookie Monster, Elmo, Dora and Big Bird. All models were manufactured by a contractor in China.

The toys were recalled on reports of excessive lead content in the paint used on certain pre-school toys. About 1.5 million toys are being recalled globally, the largest recall of toys in a decade.

Mattel India executives told Business Standard that they imported only two toys – The Press-and-Go Racer and the Giggle Gabber Soccer Elmo from the Sesame Street series -- from China. These toys are priced at Rs 399 and Rs 499 respectively and are a part of the toy models that have been recalled in the US, the UK, Canada and Mexico.

"This is a really insignificant number and that really would not affect our business. We follow international standards when it comes to safety norms," said Luthra.

John Baby, chief executive officer, Funskool India, said he was confident that the fallout would be dramatic in India. While observing that China's manufacturing standards have been questionable for long, Indian manufacturers pass stringent international quality tests.

"Our two factories in India have been audited and conform to EN 71 standards. They have also undergone a successful certification audit by the International Council of Toy Industries," Baby said.

Funskool, whose Beyblade series of pre-school toys have been a runaway success, operates toy factories in Corlim (Goa) and Ranipet in Tamil Nadu.

Sumana Guha Ray & Ravi Menon in Mumbai/Chennai