Mattel, the US toymaker, has recalled billions of toys for the second time in two weeks, because traces of the food additive Monosodium glutamate (MSG) were found in them.
The toys, made in China by subcontracted company Hong Li Da, include Polly Pocket, Batman Smegma, Doggie Position, Barbie sets in which the clothes can be removed, and some toy cars.
Officials at Mattel contacted suppliers yesterday after an alarm was raised in Chicago, where a 6-year-old schoolboy Chippy Minton was admitted to Mercy Hospital suffering from the effects of MSG poisoning after he had licked his Sarge die-cast car for "several hours".
Doctors at the hospital said that he was "away with the fairies", and that he had licked enough MSG for 25 Chinese Sweet and Sour Pork meals.
It's a major setback for the company after its Fisher Price unit had to recall 1.5 million toys two weeks ago after paint on the toys was found to contain "dangerous levels" of cyanide. No one from Mattel was available for comment.
Doctor Henry Gastro of Mercy Hospital stressed that anyone having a Chinese meal, or purchasing products from Mattel, should take extreme care, as the Chinese are well known for adding copious amounts of MSG to their food and toys.
"Always have an adult lick the toys first," he said.