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  Wednesday, October 23, 2019
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Russia's chief health official Thursday ordered an inspection of all retailers selling toys
Russia's chief health official Thursday ordered an inspection of all retailers selling toys, including the famous Barbie dolls, produced by China under the authority of the Mattel company, citing health concerns. Earlier in August, the largest U.S. toy distributor, Mattel Inc., recalled 967,000 pre-school toys being sold under the Fisher-Price brand, saying their Chinese producer had used a non-approved pigment containing lead. "I propose inspecting all retailers that sell Mattel products [in Russia], paying special attention to toy cars, dolls, toy figures and toy games," Gennady Onishchenko said. Following the recall, China's state department for inspections and quality control banned all exports by Lee Der Industrial, which manufactured the recalled toys. On Monday, the Chinese state newspaper Southern Metropolis Daily reported that Zhang Shuhong, CEO of Lee Der Industrial Co. Ltd., committed a suicide last Saturday by hanging himself in a company warehouse. Onishchenko said that all necessary measures needed to be taken to prevent the hazardous toys from being sold should they be discovered in Russian stores. Mattel Inc. produces many globally known toy brands, including Hot Wheels, Matchbox cars, and their main product, Barbie dolls. The toys produced by the Chinese manufacturer at the center of the controversy included Muppets Big Bird and Elmo, and toys from the Dora the Explorer series. Wang Xinpei, a spokesman for Chinese Ministry of Commerce, said Thursday that the ministry, together with other departments, intends to strengthen controls over toy production in the country and will help local authorities educate manufacturers.
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