Mattel apologizes to China for product recalls
BEIJING (Reuters) - A senior Mattel executive apologized to China on Friday for recent recalls of Chinese-made toys and said it took full responsibility.
Mattel, the world's largest toy maker, has come under scrutiny following the recall of about 21 million of its Chinese-made toys in a span of five weeks, many because of excessive levels of lead paint.
"Our reputation has been damaged lately by these recalls," Thomas Debrowski, Mattel's executive vice president of worldwide operations, told China's quality watchdog chief, Li Changjiang.
"Mattel takes full responsibility for these recalls and apologizes personally to you, the Chinese people and all of our customers who received the toys."
He said he realized the damage that had been done to the reputation of Chinese goods.
"But it's important for everyone to understand that the vast majority of those products that we recalled were the result of a design flaw in Mattel's design, not through a manufacturing flaw in Chinese manufacturers."
Before the Mattel recalls, a spate of incidents involving unsafe Chinese products ranging from toys and seafood to toothpaste that entered both EU and U.S. markets prompted calls on both sides of the Atlantic for a ban on products "made in China".
Mattel CEO Robert Eckert this week defended his company's toy safety record as two skeptical Democratic lawmakers accused him of stonewalling a congressional probe into production practices in China linked to millions of recalled toys.
Eckert told a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee that his company was aggressively testing toys to make sure they were safe, and said employees will make more surprise inspections of factories.