The mass recall of some of the most popular children’s toys worldwide amid fears of excessive lead content has dealt a fresh blow to the ‘made-in-China’ label. This latest consumer scare is particularly worrying to customers because it is children who are potentially at risk. Jean-Paul Geai, editor of a French consumer magazine, says: “Leaded paint has a sugary taste which could tempt youngsters to put toys in their mouth. “If they ingest lead particles, they could suffer lead poisoning.” After the discovery of antifreeze in Chinese-made toothpaste, counterfeit Viagra, bird-flu medicine and anti Malaria drugs, exploding tyres on cars and the deaths of thousands of dogs and cats who had eaten poisoned pet food, the public is increasingly asking itself what the real price of cheap Chinese-made goods is. And politicians both sides of the Atlantic are adding their voices to calls for better controls on Chinese imports. At toy-giant Mattel’s main factory in China, it was business as normal despite their subsidiary, Fisher-Price recalling 1.5 million products. Mattel owns about half its Chinese plants – the rest are run by sub-contractors. It is a cheaper alternative, but it is harder to monitor standards. In China, mothers like Joanne Lai they are not worried about lead levels. Lai says she chooses toys primarily according to what her children want. Parents elsewhere are beginning to look for local labels on the products they chose for their children. But with 80 percent of toys world wide currently made in China, that is not proving too easy.