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PIRG Press:  Possible Choking Hazard in "Nestle Magic" Toys

Consumer Federation of America (CFA)
U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 15 Aug 97
CONTACT:  Ed Mierzwinski, 202-546-9707 (PIRG)
          Mary Ellen Fise 202-387-6121 (CFA)

CONSUMER GROUPS URGE CPSC INVESTIGATION OF POSSIBLE CHOKING HAZARD IN "NESTLE MAGIC" TOYS CONTAINED IN CHOCOLATE EGGS

WASHINGTON, DC -- Two of the nation's leading consumer groups today urged the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to open an investigation and conduct a public education campaign concerning the new "Nestle Magic" product, which consists of small "Disney" figurines encased in a two part plastic egg surrounded by a chocolate egg.

 In a letter to the CPSC today, the groups urged the agency to conduct small parts tests and use and abuse tests to determine whether the toy poses a choking hazard to children under 3 and should be banned. Regardless of the results of the test, the groups also urged the CPSC to conduct a public education campaign about the inherent hazard posed by a toy contained inside a candy egg. 

"This product flies in the face of all conventional wisdom in preventing toy choking incidents," said Mary Ellen Fise, CFA's General Counsel and Product Safety Director. "What could Nestle have been thinking putting small toys inside chocolate eggs?"

 The groups sent the letter after reading reports stating that Nestle is planning a major rollout of the toys, and reading media reports that the toy is already available at KMart. 

"Although the toys we have seen so far marginally pass the choke tube test, some appear to be poorly made and could break and fail under use and abuse tests," said PIRG Consumer Program Director Ed Mierzwinski, "Regardless, though, toys that marginally pass could still be potential hazards and kids are going to put toys covered with gooey chocolate in their mouths, so these toys are a bad idea." 

The CPSC small parts ban prohibits the sale of any toy if the toy or any breakable part fits inside a choke test tube and the toy, by its marketing or play value, is intended for children under 3.

 PIRG's annual "Trouble In Toyland" reports have resulted in CPSC recall, stop sale or other action on over 50 dangerous toys in the last 11 years. CFA previously has filed a petition with the CPSC urging that the small parts test be strengthened.
 

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CFA is a non-profit association of over 240 pro-consumer groups that was founded in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through lobbying and education.

 U.S. PIRG is the national lobbying office for state PIRGs, which are non-profit, non partisan consumer and environmental advocacy groups active around the country.

LETTER TO CPSC
Consumer Federation of America (CFA)
U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG)
15 August 1997

 The Honorable Ann Brown, Chairman
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
4330 East-West Highway
Bethesda, MD 20814

 Dear Chairman Brown,

 Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) are writing to request a Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) investigation and public information effort concerning a possible choking hazard associated with small toy parts contained within the Nestle Magic product.

 As you may be aware, Nestle has begun selling in this country the Nestle Magic chocolate egg product which consists of a foil covered chocolate egg that surrounds a two-part plastic egg which contains a small plastic Disney toy character. It is clear that this product is intended for children of all ages. Indeed, the packaging contains the statement "SAFETY TESTED FOR KIDS OF ALL AGES."

 Our organizations are very concerned about the potential for young children to mouth and choke on these very small toys, particularly given that the plastic egg is intended to be put up to the mouth in order to eat the chocolate. We request that the CPSC conduct a thorough investigation, examining whether any of the toys or toy parts fail the agency's small parts test and associated use and abuse test. We strongly urge immediate Section 15 action should any failures occur.

 Regardless of the outcome of these tests, we strongly urge the agency to use its excellent media contacts to educate the public, and particularly parents, grandparents, and child care providers, about the potential for children to mouth and choke on the toys contained within the Nestle Magic product.

 CPSC and our organizations have worked for many years to educate consumers about choking hazards when children mouth toy products. This product flies in the face of all conventional wisdom in preventing toy choking incidents. As this product is more widely distributed in this country (as we expect that it will be), it will become increasingly important for parents to be reminded about the need for increased vigilance to guard against choking incidents.

 We very much appreciate the Commission's attention to this very serious safety matter.

 Sincerely,
 
 

Mary Ellen R. Fise                      Edmund Mierzwinski
General Counsel                         Consumer Program Director
Consumer Federation of America          U.S. Public Interest
1424 16th St NW                              Research Group
Washington, DC 20036                    218 D St SE
                                        Washington, DC 20003

cc: Commissioners Gall and Moore
 
 

   


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