From Reactive to Proactive: Redefining Safety Standards in the Promotional Industry (A Four-Part Series)
The following article is the second installment in our monthlong Promo Marketing Headlines series titled, “From Reactive to Proactive: Redefining Safety Standards in the Promotional Industry.” Throughout the next four weeks, we will discuss product testing, quality assurance and how both suppliers and distributors can work in tandem to ensure the items they sell are safe for children and adults alike.
Part 2: Suppliers and Distributors Sound Off on Recalls, Suggest Solutions
The dust of the recent California recalls has more or less settled—the industry’s publications have all done their stories, news of the lunch boxes disseminated to affected parties, and although no mea culpa was issued, the story, most likely, will be put out to pasture à la the Tylenol and GM truck public-relations nightmares.
Yet recalls still are flooding the news. The stories might not be front-page headlines, but tales of lead and design flaws in products for both children and adults have been cropping up with alarming consistency. A sampling of what occurred just in the days following the first edition of this series:
• October 12, 2007: More than 90,000 children’s toys, mostly imported by J.C. Penney Co. Inc., were recalled due to unacceptable levels of lead.
• October 11, 2007: In recent tests done on 33 brand-name red lipsticks, The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found one-third had enough lead to exceed the FDA’s 0.1 parts-per-million limit for lead in candy.
• October 9, 2007: Starbucks recalls 250,000 of its kids’ cups, due to reports of the items breaking and becoming choking hazards.
Though all of the above are retail products from nationally recognized brands, with a large percentage of promotional products being imported, and a lack of checks and balances within the sector, the only thing that’s truly safe is the bet we, too, haven’t seen the last of the product-safety issue.