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Mattel Announces Expanded Recall of Toys
Mattel: Jay Cochran - 2007.08.14
Mattel, Inc. announced today that the company has voluntarily recalled one toy from the "CARS" die-cast vehicle line ("Sarge" character), manufactured between May 2007 and July 2007, containing impermissible levels of lead. The recalled vehicles include 436,000 total toys, including 253,000 in the U.S. and 183,000 outside of the U.S.


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 Co., Ltd (Early Light), one of Mattel's contract manufacturing facilities in China, which subcontracted the painting of parts of the toy to another vendor, Hong Li Da (HLD), also in China. 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.


"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.


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 (9.5 million in the U.S.); however, the majority of the toys are no longer at retail. Beginning in January 2007, Mattel implemented enhanced magnet retention systems in its toys across all brands.


"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.


"The safety of children is our primary concern, and we are deeply apologetic to everyone affected," said Robert A. Eckert, chairman and chief executive officer, Mattel. "Mattel has rigorous procedures, and we will continue to be vigilant and unforgiving in enforcing quality and safety. We don't want to have recalls, but we don't hesitate to take quick and effective action to correct issues as soon as we've identified them to ensure the safety of our products and the safety of children."


Mattel is working in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and other regulatory agencies worldwide. Mattel is also working with retailers worldwide to identify and remove affected products from retail shelves.


Details of the recall are as follows:


Mattel voluntarily recalled 63 magnetic toys sold at retail prior to January 2007. Magnetic toys recalled within the U.S. include 44 Polly Pocket(TM) toys, 11 Doggie Day Care(R) toys, 4 Batman(TM) toys, 1 One Piece(TM) toy, and the accessory part of 2 Barbie(R) toys. For additional information regarding the magnetic toy recall, contact Mattel at (888) 597-6597, or visit the company's Web site at www.service.mattel.com.


The Sarge toy from the "CARS" die-cast vehicle line was manufactured between May 2007 and August 2007. For additional information regarding the Sarge toy recall, contact Mattel at (800) 916-4997, or visit the company's Web site at www.service.mattel.com.


A full list of products is published on the company's Web site at www.mattel.com, as well as by the Consumer Products Safety Commission. Consumers should immediately take these products away from children and contact Mattel to arrange return and to receive a voucher for a replacement toy of the consumer's choice, up to the value of the returned product.


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