Toy seizure prompts crackdown

EUROPEAN toy safety standards have been strengthened in the wake of the seizure of a shipment of potentially deadly toys at the Port of Felixstowe.The new standards - which ban exported products from a further 750 toy manufacturers in China - were welcomed by Suffolk MEP Richard Howitt, one of the campaigners leading the charge in the European Parliament for tougher EU toy standards.

By Richard Cornwell

EUROPEAN toy safety standards have been strengthened in the wake of the seizure of a shipment of potentially deadly toys at the Port of Felixstowe.

The new standards - which ban exported products from a further 750 toy manufacturers in China - were welcomed by Suffolk MEP Richard Howitt, one of the campaigners leading the charge in the European Parliament for tougher EU toy standards.

Mr Howitt is to visit Felixstowe to see the massive stockpile of seized dangerous toys confiscated at the port, and discuss how the expertise of the Felixstowe officers in dealing with dangerous toys can help make the new European regulations on toy safety even better.

“Roughly 80 per cent of the toys sold in our shops come from China and the changes we have required show we are determined to rid our markets of toxic toys,” he said.

“It is European action which has brought the new bans together with the introduction of bar-coding of toys in Chinese factories, and which should offer parents greater confidence in the toys we give to our children.

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“Suffolk Trading Standards working alongside the Port of Felixstowe have led the way in impounding dangerous toys as last week's seizure demonstrates.

“Higher safety conditions will mean toys that have travelled a long way by reindeer-led sleigh or cargo ship into Suffolk stockings will soon be even safer.”

The majority of Chinese toys imported to Britain arrive through the Suffolk port and trading standards officers acted quickly to remove a consignment of cuddly fluffy toys last week before they could reach shop shelves and be snapped up for Christmas.

The 15cm toys, called Russko Plush Flumpz, were checked for safety and labelling issues.

Four types were tested - the sheep, lion, dog and cow - and all failed. In each case the eyes either broke or fell out - not only dangerous but a potential choking hazard to a young child.

The toys also failed on labelling. The label stated they were not recommended for children under the age of three even though the law notes that any cuddly or soft toys, because they are so appealing to young children, must be safe for them to use.

Do you think toy safety standards are tough enough? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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