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China Defends Product Safety Record

A senior trade official in China says a global recall of millions of Chinese-made toys was the result of new industry standards, not poor quality products.

Speaking at a press conference in Beijing Thursday, Vice Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng said that the recall was a responsible move, given that products could affect the health and safety of children.

He added that a recall of more than 18 million toys with magnets was the result of new standards that were put in place in May.

Addressing the issue of lead found in toys, Gao blamed loopholes in the manufacturing process in China, but also noted that retailers were to blame as well for their failure to inspect products.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the two U.S. importers, announced the voluntary recall of about 300,000 products.

The toy recall campaign follows similar warnings around the world about the toxic contamination of toothpaste, seafood and pet food produced in China.

Last week, the Mattel toy company recalled more than 18 million Chinese-made toys because they had been coated in lead paint or contained small magnets that would be hazardous if swallowed by young children.

China's Commerce Ministry said it is investigating companies that made the recalled Mattel toys.

In response to these concerns, China has blacklisted more than 400 companies for violating trade rules.

On Thursday, China announced the launch of a new nationwide safety campaign that focuses on food and drugs, as well as increased monitoring of exports.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.