Archive for the ‘product safety’ Category

China’s Toymakers: No Joy This Holiday

December 25, 2008

Claims of lead-based paint and a disaster in world-wide economic conditions has slammed Santa’s Toyland: China.

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In Dongguan, where many of Santa’s gifts are really made, nearly half of the 3,800 toy factories have closed or plan to. That’s left a vast number of workers, mostly migrants, without jobs.
By Barbara Demick
The Los Angeles Times
December 25, 2008
Reporting from Dongguan, China — Growing up in the Chinese countryside with only an elementary school education, Yang Yanjun had never heard of Christmas until she landed a job painting pink-cheeked cherubs to decorate trees.

But Christmas proved to be a miraculous holiday that would utterly transform her life. Over a decade, she worked in factories producing ornaments and toys that foreign children were told came from Santa’s workshops. She earned up to $200 a month, unimaginable riches that allowed her to build a house for her family back home.

Keeping the spirit alive 
Jobless Chinese toymakers turned vendors.  Photo by  Barbara Demick, The Los Angeles Times
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Related:
China Faces Social Unrest As Up To 150 Million Migrants Go Home Without Work

China’s Slowing Growth, Unemployment Leads Toward Social Unrest

Read the rest:
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/
world/la-fg-china-toys25-2008dec25,0,4105911.story

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China Finally Targets, Exposes Fake Drug Makers

December 10, 2008

China, beset by food and drug safety scandals, has blacklisted dozens of websites for making false claims about traditional Chinese medicine, state media said on Wednesday.

The health scares, including the addition of melamine, used in making plastics, to milk and baby formula, have prompted many countries to close their markets to Chinese food and drugs, and Beijing is trying to restore the reputation of its exports with a quality drive.

The 74 websites, most of them targeting Chinese consumers, sell drugs for high blood pressure, diabetes and tumours. Some feature testimonials from western doctors and medical companies.

Traditional Chinese medicine is widely used in Asia and could become more integrated in western national health systems, the World Health Organisation said last month.

Many of the Web sites, some featuring photos of nurses clad in white lab coats and gleaming hospitals, are still accessible and selling their “cures,” despite the ban.

Only websites licensed by China State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) are authorised to sell drugs online to individuals.

“So far, only 10 websites across China have been issued with the licence,” Xinhua quoted Yan Jiangying, spokeswoman for the SFDA, as saying.

The state-owned Xinhua news agency pointed out on Wednesday that the sites could be shut down by the government, but had not been. China’s internet police have broad powers to block or shut any sites deemed to have subversive or pornographic content.

(Reporting by Beijing newsroom; Editing by Lucy Hornby at Reuters)

“Made in China” label battered by product scandals

December 8, 2008

Milk, toothpaste, cough syrup, pet food, eels, blood thinner, car parts, pork, eggs, honey, chicken, dumplings, cooking oil and rice — if you can fake it or taint it, you can almost guarantee it’s happened in China.

A string of product safety scandals, including contaminated infant formula that is believed to have killed six babies and sickened thousands of others, have rocked the faith of shoppers, making them wary of buying products made in China despite the often cheaper price tag.

Officers from the local Administration for Industry and Commerce ...
Officers from the local Administration for Industry and Commerce prepare to destroy confiscated milk in Baofeng, Henan province in this November 10, 2008 file photo.(China Daily/Files/Reuters)

By Ben Blanchard, Reuters

“I was physically disgusted when I saw it on the TV,” said Sally Villegas, a mother of two in Australia, referring to the melamine-tainted infant formula scandal that came to light in September.

“If I’m shopping and I pick up a product made in China, yes I would put it back.”

The melamine scandal was the latest in a string of recent high-profile safety problems that included lead paint on toy cars and contaminated Chinese-made blood thinner heparin which was blamed for fatalities in the United States and Germany and prompted a global recall early this year.

After each scandal, Beijing seemed to have the same response: launching a crackdown, destroying tainted goods on television, jailing a few officials and saying they “pay great attention” to the problem.

Trouble is, for all the government’s efforts and exhortations, the scandals keep happening, and will likely keep on happening, due to lax rule enforcement, fragmented industries, widespread poverty and the sheer size of China, analysts say.

“I’m sure that there will be more. It’s a near certainty. Not only in the fields that we’ve seen already, but in other ones,” said Duncan Innes-Ker, a China analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit in Beijing.

“China faces a lot of problems because it is developing into a big but very poor economy, and obviously you can’t have Western-style safety mechanisms in an economy where half the population doesn’t earn much more than a couple of dollars a day,” he added.

CHINESE PRODUCTS SHUNNED

Jin Biao, vice president of Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group, one of China’s largest dairy producers, admitted the melamine problem had dented the country’s already badly tattered reputation overseas.

“The contamination was our management problem. We must first resolve it without trying to pass the blame on to the farmers, or to society, or the country,” he told Reuters.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081208/ts_n
m/us_china_safety_2