Mattel apologized Thursday to customers affected by a recall of nearlyone million toys from its Fisher-Price division after the Chinese-made products were found to have paint with excessive amounts of lead.
"We apologize to everyone affected by this recall, especially those who bought the toys in question," Robert A. Eckert, Mattel Inc.'s chairman and CEO, said in a statement.
"Our goal is to correct this problem, improve our systems and maintain the trust of the families that have allowed us to be part of their lives by acting responsibly and quickly to address their concerns," he said.
The worldwide recall — including the popular Big Bird, Elmo, Dora and Diego characters — involves 83 types of plastic preschool toys made by a Chinese vendor and sold in Canada and the United States between May and August.
The recall affects967,000 toys.
On Thursday, Health Minister Tony Clement said Canada will follow through with an investigation into the recall, the Canadian Press reported.
Speaking at the federal Conservative caucus meeting in Charlottetown, Clement didn't give specifics about the investigation, saying only thatstandards have been breached and that he wants to make sure the health of Canadians hasn't been affected.
Earlier today, Mattel issued an apology to customers for the recall.
|Fisher-Price toy recall|
|The following products were sold in Canadian stores:
It is the largest for Fisher-Price and parent company Mattel Inc. since 1998, when Fisher-Price had to yank about 10 million Power Wheels from stores.
David Allmark, general manager of Fisher-Price, told the Associated Press on Wednesday that the problem was detected by an internal probe and reported to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which works with companies to issue recalls.
Fisher-Price and the commission issued statements saying parents should keep suspect toys away from children and contact the company.
Under current U.S. regulations, children's products found to have more than 0.06 per cent lead accessible to users are subject to a recall.
Allmark said the recall was "fast-tracked," which allowed the company to quarantine two-thirds of the toys before they made it to store shelves.
Long-standing relationship with Chinese vendor
Allmark said the recall was troubling because Fisher-Price has had a long-standing relationship with the Chinese vendor, which had applied decorative paint to the toys. Allmark said the company would use this recall as an opportunity to put even better systems in place to monitor vendors whose conduct does not meet Mattel's standards.
"We are still concluding the investigation, how it happened," he said. "But there will be a dramatic investigation on how this happened. We will learn from this."
Owners of recalled toys can exchange them for a voucher for another product of the same value.
For more information, call 1-800-916-4498.