McDonald’s recalls lead-tainted giveaway items

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FAST-FOOD giant McDonald’s Philippines has initiated a voluntary recall of certain promotional giveaway items, after the products were found to contain excessive amounts of lead, the company said in a statement.

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The recall was the outcome of a chemical analysis of the products by EcoWaste Coalition, a non-profit watch group tracking toxic chemicals in products and wastes.

EcoWaste Coalition’s chemical investigation “showed lead in the accessible substrate material of the black back pack” being given away by McDonald’s restaurants in the Philippines. The group reported its findings to McDonald’s Philippines and the McDonald’s corporation in the US on August 8, according to its press statement.

EcoWaste Coalition alerted McDonald’s that the black backpack exceeded the maximum lead limit of 100 parts per million (ppm) for lead in accessible substrate materials as established by the US Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, the group explained in its statement.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources Administrative Order 2013-24 (also known as the “Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds”) prohibits the use of lead in the production of toys and school supplies, and sets the maximum limit for lead in other products.

“Upon receipt of the group’s notification, McDonald’s immediately contacted the bag supplier, MZM Souvenirs, to halt production while also stopping the distribution of the said bags as giveaway items,” the company said.

McDonald’s added that the group’s investigation also prompted the company to test other promotional products resulting to the subsequent expansion of the recall to include McDonald’s red sling bags and red bag tags supplied by F Colors. These items are no longer available in McDonald’s stores.

Golden Arches Development Corp., the master franchise holder of McDonald’s restaurants in the Philippines and suppliers MZM Souvenirs and F Colors, announced the voluntary recall, which commenced on August 26 and will last until October 24.

EcoWaste Coalition, meanwhile, expressed appreciation for McDonald’s move to recall the affected products.

“McDonald’s made the right decision to promptly retrieve the lead-containing bags and tags as this is necessary for children’s health and well-being. We commend them for the measures undertaken to notify the public and ensure the rapid retrieval of the recalled products for environmentally-sound disposal without incineration,” said EcoWaste Coalition’s national coordinator, Aileen Lucero.

The deputy managing director of McDonald’s Philippines, Margot Torres, thanked EcoWaste Coalition for approaching the company with its concerns.

“Nothing matters more to us than the safety of our customers. We have reinforced to our local supplier partners that there must be absolute adherence to the high standards of safety that we uphold at McDonald’s,” Torres said. “These recalled items have not met that standard.”

“We apologize for any inconvenience caused, and we strongly encourage our customers to immediately return the bags and bag tag, so we can have them replaced or refunded,” Torres added.

According to an advisory posted in McDonald’s stores and on the company’s website, customers may opt to receive a substitute bag or ask for a refund upon return of the lead-tainted original bag. Customers returning the bag tag will receive a refund. All customers who return any of the bags or the bag tag will also receive a free food item and a birthday party discount coupon.

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