Sony Corp of China suspended the distribution of six of its digital camera models on the Chinese mainland on December 16 after the Industrial and Commercial Administration of East China's Zhejiang Province found problems with the cameras' liquid crystal displays (LCDs), automatic exposures and white balances.
The company reported that a service hotline had been set up to handle customer concerns, but did not say how to return, repair or exchange any of the six cameras in question.
The Japan-based electronics producer challenged the administration's findings, but still issued another apology on December 19, saying it would recall its six "Cybershot" models.
US-based beauty products giant P&G was hit with complaints from a Nanchang woman in March over the SKII anti-ageing De-Wrinkle Essence skincare product. The woman said it was ineffective and sparked an allergic reaction.
P&G was fined for misleading consumers in its skincare product ads on April 11. The Nanchang Commercial and Industrial Bureau in the provincial capital of East China's Jiangxi Province settled on a fine of 200,000 yuan (US$24,000) after a 20-day investigation into SKII.
The bureau has also looked into SKII's ingredients in response to another consumer's accusations that the skincare formula contained "unsafe materials."
P&G China spokesperson Feng Jialu insisted the product was safe, and said the only problem was related to advertising. Sales of SKII are stable on the Chinese mainland, but media reports have suggested that 12 per cent of SKII's frequent users doubted the product's quality, based on a confidential survey conducted by P&G early last April.
A US study warned on April 18 that triclosan in Colgate brand toothpaste could lead to cancer. Triclosan can react with water to produce chloroform gas. Chloroform can cause depression, liver problems and cancer, if inhaled in large enough quantities.
China forbids the use of triclosan in cosmetics, but has no rule on its use in toothpastes. which is why the health authorities did not require Colgate to pull the products from shelves as its counterparts did in Europe. Sales of Colgate toothpaste still dropped significantly, however.
The Shenzhen municipal government in South China's Guangdong Province shut down a kitchen used by leading US ice cream brand Haagen-Dazs in June after finding it lacked a permit and failed to meet health standards.
The ice cream was primarily made next to a toilet and several rubbish bins in a house . Local government officials discovered the illegal kitchen through a tip from another citizen.
Brand owner General Mills reported that the ice cream made in the Shenzhen kitchen has been sent to the United States for the past five years without incident. The case stirred public concern, and although no other health violations were reported, business dropped sharply.
Customers discovered expired bread and cakes on store shelves a week after Wal-Mart Beijing Zhichunlu Supercentre officially opened last May . The general manager of the new outlet blamed the mistake on inexperienced employees.
Local industrial and commercial officials warned Wal-Mart, the world's top chain retailer, to improve its supervisory system and strengthen management. Visitors dropped sharply after local media reported the news.
Nestle's Jin Pai Growing 3+Milk Powder for babies and young children was found to contain more iodine than allowed by national standards during a May 25 survey by quality inspection authorities in East China's Zhejiang Province. Similar problems were later discovered in Beijing and Kunming, in Southwest China's Yunnan Province.
The Swiss company insisted the powder was safe and refused to recall its products. Nestle issued a public statement on June 5 apologizing for exceeding national standards on iodine content in some Nestle milk-based powder products, but said the matter was not a safety or health issue.
The National Standardization Administrative Commission declared on June 8 that products in violation of national standards must halt production and sales immediately. Nestle eventually pulled the Jin Pai 3+Milk Powder from stores shelves across the country.
(China Daily 03/13/2006 page5)
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