Morgan Tait

Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's consumer affairs reporter.

Safety test failures lead to 150 recalls

Some models of Bugaboo Cameleon baby strollers were recalled because of a faulty handle that could break and cause the infant to fall from its carrier.
Some models of Bugaboo Cameleon baby strollers were recalled because of a faulty handle that could break and cause the infant to fall from its carrier.

Toys that can choke children, blenders that leave blades in food, make-up that causes bacterial infections and ladders that fail safety tests are just some of nearly 150 products recalled in New Zealand since 2012.

Since June 2012, 146 products have been voluntarily recalled from stores by distributors and manufacturers, according to data supplied to the Herald by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

There had been 51 instances of goods categorised as "tools, appliances and machinery recalled", the most of any products, followed by "toys, leisure and sporting goods" with 35 recalls, and "nursery products" with 16.

Among those recalled items was a range of children's books with an attached bar prone to breaking and posing a choking hazard.

Some models of Bugaboo Cameleon baby strollers were recalled because of a faulty handle that could break and cause the infant to fall from its carrier; and a brand of rattles sold at Kmart also posed a choking risk.

Also at Kmart, drinking glasses prone to shattering and others with rims that snapped off leaving a sharp, jagged edge were recalled, as well as a blender prone to breaking and leaving blade fragments in food or drinks, and an electric air pump that posed a shock risk.

A Kmart representative said ensuring its products were of a high quality was a priority.

"The moment we are made aware of an issue relating to a product we act immediately and investigate. Keeping our customers informed about any products which are recalled is incredibly important to Kmart."

Australian makeup company Nude by Nature recalled nine batches of its Liquid Mineral Foundation because of "high levels of microbial activity that could lead to serious infection", and three brands of ladders that did not meet safety standards were recalled last year.

Bunnings recalled 147 Syneco ladders when it was told by the Commerce Commission that the products did not meet standards, a representative said.

"We open up communication when we discover an issue and ensure we are transparent about our internal processes," the representative said.

"Customer safety is paramount, we want our customers to be able to trust the products we sell, so do everything we can to ensure we reflect this on our everyday actions."

MBIE trading standards principal adviser Martin Rushton said that although the Commerce Commission could order compulsory recalls, that power had been exercised only once since the Fair Trading Act was introduced in 1986.

Mr Rushton said in the late 1980s a bicycle company was forced to recall a line of bikes.

All other recalls since have been on companies' own accord.

Businesses did not need to notify the commission they were recalling a product, though the majority opted to work with officials, he said.

The Consumer Law Reform Bill, an overhaul of consumer legislation, was passed into law last month and Mr Rushton said it would have implications for future recalls.

"From here on in any supplier or company in the supply chain who is considering recall has to notify us so that's a significant step forward," he said.

"The obligation is they have to do that within 48 hours."

Research showed consumers did not lose faith in a brand if it recalled an item for safety reasons, he said.

While some may think the product's bad, it also demonstrated that the company had serious regard for consumer safety, Mr Rushton said.


Some of the products

Hachette Children's Books Count My Kisses 1, 2, 3 and Red, Green, Blue I Love You: An attached bar with beads was prone to breaking, and its parts posed a choking hazard.

Nude by Nature Liquid Mineral Foundation: Nine batches sold in July and August recalled due to high levels of microbial activity that could lead to serious infection.

Kmart: Drinking glasses were recalled because of a risk of shattering, a blender for faulty blades that might break and mix with food and drink, a kettle with a faulty handle because it could scald users, powerboards for non-compliance with electrical safety standards, an electric air pump that posed an electric shock risk and baby rattles that were a choking hazard.

Ladders: Transforma, Mechpro and Syneco brands recalled some models for non-compliance with Australasian safety standards.

Two models of Fisher & Paykel dishwashers were recalled because of electric shock risk from moisture build-up in the handle and five Samsung
top loader washing machine models were recalled because of a fire risk.

Bugaboo Cameleon strollers: Models sold between September 2012 and last March were recalled because of a faulty handle that posed a fall risk.

- NZ Herald

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