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Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

The burning recliner, tainted candy, & more Made in China cautionary tales

Ethics, Product safety, Unintended consequences

I know I just cautioned you about purchasing products that are ingested or applied to the skin from China, but here comes another Made in China cautionary tale. This time it is a chair that can cause chemical burns to the skin--just from sitting on it!  French retailer in hot seat over Chinese chairs,

One customer, Caroline Morin, said Friday she was stunned to learn the chair she bought last December appears to have caused the skin problems she says she suffered for months.

"You sit comfortably on something and in fact you have a bomb under your butt," she said.

... 

A rash of cases have cropped up in Britain, too. British attorney Christian Shotton said his law firm, Russell, Jones & Walker, is representing 1,300 people who bought Linkwise recliners and sofas from British retailers and who are suing for compensation. He said there have been other cases in Sweden and Finland.

"Some of the children, some of the babies, are covered head to toe," in burns, rashes and infections, Shotton said.

The Chinese as a culture doesn't seem to have any prohibitions to stealing intellectual property or producing products that are not what they are supposed to be--as in the baby formula and dog food.

This chair problem was more of an "innocent" mistake--one made out of ignorance. The burns and rashes were a reaction to a mold retardant. The manufacturer made an error in judgment in that if a little mold retardant is good, more must be better.

Normally, just one sachet of the anti-mold chemical is meant to be inserted into the chairs, but some contained as many as 10, said a Conforama spokeswoman, Stephanie Mathieu.

She said the Chinese firm told Conforama that "as it was the monsoon season they decided that they needed to put more sachets in." 

Need another reason to buy only from legitimate manufacturers from more developed countries? How about this latest one?

The toxic chemical, melamine, has showed up in White Rabbit, a taffy type candy sold in China and other countries, including United States. The article said that tiny amounts of melamine would not be enough to be lethal as it was in the infant formula or pet foods, but it still should not be there. It could cause kidney stones or other health problems.

I am afraid to ask this, but what next?

UPDATE: I didn't even get the above posted and the food warning expands. This group, like the White Rabbit candy, included anything creamy, such as chocolate. Melamine again is the culprit.

"We have to think about any processed food with milk or protein in it," said James Rice, a food industry veteran who is now China country manager for Tyson Foods Inc. (TSN), the world's largest meat processor.

None of these products seems to have hit the mainstream American markets, but Kraft Foods was mentioned in the article.

When rumors of melamine-related recalls of Oreos and other sweets spread by phone text messages and on the Internet earlier this week, Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT) hastened to reassure customers that none of its Oreo-brand products contain milk powder from China.

Oreo fillings contain no milk, while Oreo cookies with icing on them use milk powder from Australia, it said. "Regardless of where they are produced, Kraft products are always held to the highest quality and safety standards," the company said.

Who knew their Oreo wasn't 100% made in the USA? 

We are not big Oreo fans, but I can see I am going to have to really start reading that fine print on product wrappers. Ah, the joys of a global market.

UPDATE: There is more...Cadbury pulls Made in China chocolate. (Not US) 

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