Consumers ‘strongly’ advised to buy toys gifts only in legitimate shops – FDA

MANILA, (PNA) — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “strongly” advised consumers to purchase toys only in legitimate shops to avoid giving kids toys which were made of toxic chemicals for Christmas.

According to an advisory issued by the FDA, children safety should be foremost in parents’ minds when buying toys.

At present, FDA Field Food and Drug Regulation Officers have been going around the National Capital Region (NCR) to collect samples and analyze the level of heavy metals, particularly lead, cadmium and arsenic using an x-ray Fluorescence analyzer (XRFs).

The FDA said that it will be purchasing more XRFs in the future to ultimately cover all regions, as well as ports of entries.

License to Operate

In order to ensure that toys do not contain hazardous materials, the FDA issued License to Operate (LTO) to around 135 toy manufacturers, importers and distributors and required them to secure a Certificate of Conformity.

Toys that are smuggled or that have found their way in sidewalks or peddled by ambulant vendors have no market authorization, the FDA said.

President Aquino signed into law the “Toy and Game Safety Labeling Act of 2013” (RA 10620) last Sept 6. which requires all toys to bear warning and precautionary labels.

The Implementing Rules and Regulation, however, is still being drafted by the Department of Trade Industry (DTI) in consultation with other stakeholders.

However, persons found violating the law will be fined P500,000, all their products will be seized, their establishments will be closed and an offender will also be subject to imprisonment of not more than 10 years.

If the offender is a manufacturer, importer or distributor of unregistered toy products, the maximum fine imposable is P5 million and imprisonment of not more than 10 years.

Adult supervision

The FDA said that close and personal supervision by adults over children is still the best safety measure against toxic toys.

“Parents should also keep in mind that in case of toy accidents or injuries among children at homes, they also share some responsibilities,” the FDA said.

“Parents should not rely solely on toy labels and warnings provided by manufacturers,” it added.

The FDA called on all local government units (LGUs) and the DTI to help ensure the health and safety of their constituents and consumers by ensuring that all toys sold under their jurisdiction are legitimate.

“Such toys are those sold or offered for sale which have accompanying Certificate of Conformity issued by the FDA and sold or offered for sale by establishments with permits or licenses from them,” the FDA said.

“The Bureau of Customs is likewise requested to remain vigilant in guarding the borders of the Philippines against toxic products from other countries,” the FDA further said.