Word of Mouth

Toss your cookies (if they're from Melissa & Doug)

This Melissa & Doug wooden slice and bake cookie set seemed like the perfect gift for that toddler with baker aspirations. Unfortunately, among the painted-on sprinkles and icing, Health Canada discovered an unwanted ingredient: barium. Excessive amounts of the chemical were found in the surface paint, enough for Canada to issue a recall on this and two other Melissa & Doug toys.

What about those bought in the U.S.? That's where it gets a little tricky.

While a representative for the company claims that the recalled items were limited to a small number of toys shipped to Canada, the UPC code for the toys under suspicion are the same as those being sold here, and they're all manufactured and tested in China. Additionally, parenting blog parentdish.com reports that because the manufacturing dates of the toys fall within a nebulous area, the U.S. may not be forced to issue a recall at all.

It is important to note that in the U.S. standard that limits barium and other heavy metal content on toy surface coatings became mandatory only as of February 10, 2009, so all toys manufactured before that date are exempt from meeting those requirements. Further, in January 2009, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) granted a one-year stay, so that manufacturers and importers of regulated products will not be required to actually test or certify their products until at least February 10, 2010.

When asked about the toys, an Amazon.com rep said the company will honor returns on these items regardless of whether the recall trickles south.

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Liz Kellermeyer
Contact: Liz Kellermeyer