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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

CHARITY : Toys importers should know EU regulations better

It seems that many promotional items & toys importers don't know the regulations as they should.

TELETHON, the organisers of the "TELE-vision mara-THON" charity show that collects television viewers donations to fight some rare genetic diseases research programs, has launched a series of 4 plush toys (similar to the american "beanie babies") for the french market. The toys are sold at gaz stations accross France to promote the show, and are clearly aiming at very young children under 3 years old.

Toy safety is not only about "lead" and "toxic substances". It's also about respecting the regulation, and about the information required to inform parents that toys are not intended for "under 3 years old" babies. In that respect, the toy importer working for the TELETHON "almost" got it wrong, because the logo on the plush toy label was a modified version of the officially approved logo.

According to the European regulation, all toys that can be dangerous for babies must bear a specific logo showing the head of a baby inside a "forbidden roadsign". This is known as the "0/3 years" logo. It's not allowed to modify the logo in any way. If a company distributes a modified toy bearing a modified version of the logo, the toy is considered as badly informing parents of the dangers of the toy, and therefore the toy should be recalled.

It seems that TELETHON noticed the issue right before putting the toy on the market. To correct the bad logo on the label, they asked the importer to add the correct logo OUTSIDE the transparent polybag on a paper sticker.

Probably, the toy was tested before shipment by a test laboratory who informed the importer to correct the logo. It was an additional cost for the importer, but it's the only safe way to go.
They would have reduced their cost if they had know better in advance.

The importers of promotional items & toys don't know the regulations as they should.
This should not be told by the importer. They should have known in advance.
In the real time, the laboratory test is not always required to clear the customs, and the customs don't have time to look at all the logos... That's why unsafe toys reach our shelves !
This is a bad service from the importer for TELETHON.

Well done "super-sticker man"...

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