Monday August 06, 2012
Regulators See Strong, Public Pushback from Industry on RecallsBy Sean Oberle
Three companies the week of July 30 publicly criticized the recall demands of CPSC and Health Canada. Two involved the U.S. agency’s efforts with loose, rare-earth magnets sold as adult desk accessories and similar adult amusements. The third, in Canada, involved strollers recalled there.
Maxfield & Oberton – against which CPSC filed an administrative complaint seeking a recall of Buckyballs and Buckycubes (PSL, 7/30/12, p. 1) – launched a social media campaign, Save Our Balls, that highlights its warnings and other efforts to keep the magnets from children. It includes a YouTube video, a Twitter hashtag, #SaveOurBalls, and a Facebook page. Details are at www.savehourballs.net.
Meanwhile, company President Craig Zucker appeared on a six-minute Fox Business News segment to discuss the situation. The company also placed ads in four Washington, D.C. newspapers: The Washington Post, Politico, The Hill, and Roll Call. The Post ad was a full-page, open letter seeking President Barack Obama’s intervention. The others reiterated the company’s warning label and marketing practices as well as giving its comparisons to other common items that injure children but do not get similar CPSC treatment.
Zen Magnets, a maker of similar products, issued an open letter to CPSC. In response to a CPSC demand for a recall, it accused the agency of taking unfair action to punish makers of such products and used phrase like “intrusive investigation” and “unusually harsh.” The letter also asserted that ASTM staff and a CPSC investigator who visited the company disagree with the agency’s actions. Read the letter at zenmagnets.com/index.php?p=1_18_CPSC_Press_Release.
Peg Perego Canada President Tony Castellano, in an interview with Postmedia News, charged Health Canada with inconsistent treatment of manufactures. He compared the agency’s insistence for a recall (see chart on page 4) along with a related Peg Perego recall in the U.S. (PSL, 7/30/12, p.1) to a similar situation in 2010 in which Graco recalled in the U.S. but Health Canada issued only an advisory with safety tips. He also suggested that the current recall in Canada was unneeded because incidents did not occur there.