You should never put unicorn poop in your mouth. Every parent instinctively knows this, and now Health Canada confirms it.
A November 5 notice warns consumers that Poopsie Cutie Tooties Surprise – a ‘surprise’ toy that contains a “unicorn poop that can be opened on the bottom to reveal the slime surprise inside” – does not meet Canadian toy safety requirements because of boric acid content. Boric acid can be toxic to children if licked or swallowed, and may have long-term effects on a child’s development and further reproductive health.
The Health Canada release advises parents to take the product away from children, and then either dispose of it or return it to the retailer. But no amount of unicorns can guarantee that a recall notice will make a product disappear from online inventories and retail shelves.
The recall notice cites Party City as the product importer, and the product shows as unavailable on the Party City web site, but the same product (based on the UPC cited in the release) shows as available through other online retailers, and at other retail locations across the country. Identically appearing products with a different UPC were easily found at Toronto-area retailers by Consumers Council of Canada staff.
Because the release only references one specific product, there is no information provided about whether other Poopsie Cutie Tooties products (Slime Surprise, Poop Pack, etc.) have related issues.
The Health Canada release references two useful consumer resources. First is its own database of product recalls, which includes more than 550 toys dating back to 1998. It also directs consumers to an OECD Global Portal on Product Recalls that includes other international product recalls.
Health Canada also provides a number of twitter feeds, email notifications and mobile apps to help consumers stay aware of recalls and warnings. It has a Consumer Product Incident Report Form for consumers who have experienced health or safety incidents.
Online product reviews can also provide consumers with some health and safety related information. In the instance of the unicorn poop, more than half of the reviews found through Google and Amazon – even otherwise positive product reviews – remark on the chemical, paint-like smell of the product.
Product purchasers with concerns about product safety should always report their experience to Health Canada. But consumers who may be worried safety regulators are not giving product safety problems the attention they deserve can also share their experiences online at the Consumers Council of Canada homepage.