Local Toy Manufacturer Reacts to Recall

By: Alice Barr
By: Alice Barr

Patch Products has been making toys in Beloit since 1985, and the company's "Made in America" mark has never meant as much as it does right now.
Mattel is recalling more than nine million toys. It's the company's second major recall in as many weeks. The recalled toys contain either small magnets that are a real danger if swallowed, or lead pain. They were all made in China.
"I think it's hard on the toy industry in general. With 80 percent of our toys being made here, that will hopefully help us," says Lisa Wuennemann, Director of Marketing for Patch Products.
But that still leaves 20 percent of Patch Products that are made in Asia, primarily China. Wuennemann says they're all thoroughly safety checked.
"Each of our toys goes through use and abuse testing so basically they try to push the toy's limit on what a child's going to do to it," says Wuennemann.
Still, some Illinois leaders say we need to step up our safety standards.
"We are calling on the Consumer Product Safet Commission to literally embargo toys exported from China to the United States, until we can make an assurance that these toys are safe," says U.S. Senator from Illinois Dick Durbin.
Even with 80 percent of Patch's toys made in Beloit, Wuennemann says banning all Chinese toy imports would hurt business, especially since they're at the height of their holiday production season.
"Stores are being set right now for Christmas. So any reorders are still on their way over from China, and you would run out of toys by October and you'd have a lot of unhappy children this Christmas."
All Patch toys undergo chemical testing to check for lead, screening for sharp points and choking hazards and flammability. Patch now plans to step up those safety checks even more.
Wuennemann says Patch would like to make all its toys in America. But in order to keep costs down and sell the products at competitive prices, they have to do some production in China.


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