The popular Bindeez toys, at the centre of a worldwide product recall, could return to NSW shelves in the new year.
Business Spectator reports Moose Enterprises, which sells the toys in Australia, has been given approval by the NSW Office of Fair Trading to sell an improved version.
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Bindeez toys were pulled from shelves across Australia when it was discovered the toy’s easily ingested beads contained the chemical 1,4 butendiol.
When ingested the chemical converts into the potentially fatal drug gamma-hydroxy butyrate (GHB), also known as fantasy or “grievous bodily harm”.
In November, six children were hospitalised in Australia and New Zealand after swallowing the small beads, with events in Australia leading to a worldwide recall of the Chinese-made product.
Moose Enterprises said Bindeez, which was voted 2007 Australian Toy of the Year, would be back on NSW shelves in 2008 after approval from the NSW Government.
The interim ban placed on Bindeez by the Office of Fair Trading has been replaced by a permanent ban on bead toys containing 1,4 butendiol.
“Moose is hopeful that the new Bindeez Beads will return to shelves early 2008,” the company said.
“The new beads will be renamed and easily distinguished from the recalled beads… to help parents easily identify the difference between the new and the old beads.”
Moose Enterprises stressed the product’s return related solely to NSW, and would be dependent on other Australian states and territories lifting bans on the toy.
The new product would be manufactured in a new facility in China, the company’s chief executive Manny Stul said.
“I apologise for the fact Bindeez Beads will not be available this Christmas and I thank our customers for their patience while we put in place a new manufacturer and new testing and safety procedures,” he said.
“Moose’s primary focus will continue to be the safety and welfare of children.”
NSW Fair Trading Minister Linda Burney said the permanent ban on bead toys containing 1,4 butendiol had been put in place after recommendations by the NSW Products Safety Committee.
She said the NSW Government would work with Moose Enterprises as it reintroduces the Bindeez toys.
“Fair Trading will work closely with Moose Enterprises to ensure the new product is free of any contamination and will monitor its re-introduction into the market,” Burney said.