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Lunch Totes Face Product Safety Scrutiny
By Andy Cohen
March 2012

Lunch Tote The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in cooperation with Toronto-based manufacturer California Innovations, has recalled two of the company’s food carrier products. First, about 248,000 expandable insulated lunch boxes with freezer gel packs, which were sold in Costco Wholesale Clubs, Leon Korol and Cost U Less stores between May 2007 and September 2008, were recalled because gel can leak out of the freezer packs if broken and cause harm to children or adults if ingested.

California Innovations has received two separate reports of a dog chewing and ingesting gel from the gel pack, including one instance in which a dog reportedly died from ingestion of the gel, according to the CPSC’s public statement.

The second recall of products from California Innovations involved 55,000 expandable food carriers, which were also recalled because of potential hazards from leaking freezer gel. These products were sold in Walmart stores between August 2008 and December 2011. Both of the recalled items were manufactured in China and imported to the United States by California Innovations.

California Innovations and the CPSC are telling consumers to immediately stop using the products, and they can bring them to the stores they purchased them in to get a refund. California Innovations is also leading consumers to its website ( for more information.

In the ad specialty market, some of California Innovations’ products are supplied to distributors through Leed’s (asi/66887). In an interview with Counselor, though, an official from Leed’s said that while the supplier offers some items imported by California Innovations, it does not carry the products named in the recall.

“We don’t carry lunch boxes with freezer gel packs and we never have,” says Larry Whitney, manager of trade compliance at Leed’s. “The recall is very specific, and to our knowledge no promotional products are affected.” – AC

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