EU urged to toughen toy safety lawsIt follows another Mattel recall

27 October 2007

An MEP has called for tougher EU-wide laws to tackle imports of potentially dangerous toys.

It follows a Mattel recall of 55,000 toys from the US, Canada, the UK and Ireland because of concerns over lead in paint.

Mattel said problems with the Fisher-Price Go Diego Go Animal Rescue Boats, of which 12,000 were sold in the UK and Ireland, were caused by a sub-contractor in China.

Arlene McCarthy, chair of the European Parliament's consumer protection committee, said proposed changes to the EU toy safety directive would make it possible to prosecute importers over faulty goods.

CE certification

A separate raft of measures being considered under EU-wide goods packaging rules would make the "CE" certification symbol legally enforceable.

Firms which fraudulently used the CE mark would be liable for prosecution.

Mrs McCarthy said although UK toy safety standards were high, EU-wide enforcement was currently a problem.

'At the moment Chinese unsafe products come in across 12 ports of entry across the EU. The problem for us is that the UK may have very high standards, but that doesn't happen in the same way across the EU,' she said.

'Therefore, we have gaps and weaknesses across the enforcement system.'

Safety fears

Mattel's latest concerns follow its massive recall of about 18.2 million toys worldwide in August due to safety fears about the Chinese-made products.

The latest recall applies only to Go Diego Go Animal Rescue Boats sold after June this year.

It comes after a Mattel investigation found that a sub-contractor in China had used unauthorised paint to make the recalled batch.

The toy firm said in a statement that it had: '.. voluntarily recalled a production run of a single product sold in 4 countries due to impermissible levels of lead.'

The affected toys were produced between May 17 and August 11 this year.

Mattel is working with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission and with regulatory agencies in the UK and Canada.

It is calling on consumers to contact its website or customer helpline for a complete description of the recalled model.

© The Press Association, All Rights Reserved