Unilever Recalls 3.9 Million Promotional Toys

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CINCINNATI ( -- Unilever is recalling 3.9 million Snuggle bears distributed in promotions for its fabric softener brand because small parts can detach and pose as choking hazards to children.

32 reports
Unilever received 32 reports of the toys' nose and eyes coming off and three reports of children putting the small parts in their mouths. The dolls were distributed during the past five years.

The recall, announced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, affects bears that were included with sales of Snuggle fabric softener between May 1999 and July 2001, and other bears sent during two promotional flights between May 1997 and May 1998 and November to December 2001 to consumers who mailed in proofs of purchase and $4.

$20 million recall
The Financial Times reported the recall will cost Unilever $20 million, but a Unilever spokesman said he expects the cost to be a tiny fraction of that. He said the company had received fewer than 1,000 calls from consumers about the issue in the past 24 hours since the CPSC issued its release.

Consumers who participate in the recall will receive a $2 coupon for a Unilever product to cover the cost of shipping bears back to the company and replacement bears with an estimated value of $4.30.

Even if 25% of consumers participate in the recall, which the spokesman termed unlikely, the cost would reach only $6 million.

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