About 20 per cent of toys and baby clothes manufactured in China failed safety testsand could hurt children, the Beijing News reported Monday.

The newspaper, whichattributed the figure to Chinese officials,said an investigation by the General Administration of Quality Supervision said that when it tested children's toys and clothing, one in five of the items failed safety inspections.

Inspectorsfound that some manufacturers stuffed plush toys with low-quality fibre — and garbage.

Some toys sold within the countrywere so poorly assembled thatloose parts could easily pull free, the department said.

It also discovered that some baby clothesand baby milk powdercontained chemicals that could pose serious health risks to children.

The Xinhua news agencyreported last week that as of June 1, toys will have to pass a safety test before they can be introduced into the marketplace.

China's food and drug safety record has come under scrutiny in recent months, with U.S. investigators suggesting that Chinese companies are using potentially harmful ingredients in their products.

Imported toothpaste recalled

Last week, U.S. health officials began checking shipments of toothpaste from China after thousands of tubes of imported toothpaste were withdrawn from the marketplace in other countries.

Tests showed the products, which were sold in the Dominican Republic, Panama and Australia, contained diethylene glycol, a chemical used in antifreeze and brake fluid.

In March, an extensive recall of pet food was issued after cats and dogs in the United States and Canada fell ill and some died. An investigation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that imported wheat flour from China was tainted with melamine, a chemical used to make plastics and fertilizers.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has fielded about 17,000 consumer calls about contaminated pet food and related pet illnesses since March.

On Friday, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said it had intercepted one shipment of corn gluten imported from China that tested positive for melamine and cyanuric acid.