The recall is a move the company calls an “abundance of caution” because the paint on the glasses was found to contain slightly more of the metal cadmium than is safe for humans to consume.
"As always, the safety and well-being of our customers is a top priority and would never be knowingly compromised,” said William Whitman Jr., vice president of communications for McDonald's USA, in a statement to the press.
McDonald’s initiated the recall after it was alerted of the cadmium problem by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Patty Davis, spokesperson for the CPSC, says the organization was informed last week of the cadmium in the cups by Jackie Speier, a U.S. Congressional representative from California who learned of the problem from an anonymous constituent.
“We immediately secured samples,” Davis says. “We sent them for testing to our laboratory that’s right here in Maryland … and we did a variety of testing in our own laboratory.
“We contacted McDonald’s with the results, and McDonald’s did the right thing. They worked closely with us.”
Davis says the CPSC has scientists working to establish the level of cadmium that is unsafe for human consumption, and that the Shrek glasses had slightly more than “the level that we are currently working on.”
Whitman said in the McDonald’s release the company was “in compliance with all applicable federal and state requirements at the time of manufacture and distribution,” but that it would respect the caution of the CPSC by initiating the recall.
“McDonald's safety standards are among the highest in the industry and the company has a strong track record,” Whitman said. “McDonald's has a longstanding, cooperative relationship with the CPSC, and continues to follow their lead as testing protocols and new scientific information becomes available."
Earlier this year, the CPSC recalled children’s jewelry that contained much more cadmium than McDonald’s Shrek cups, Davis says.
“We want to make sure that manufacturers, both here and abroad, are not using cadmium in their products, especially for children, because we know that long-term exposure to cadmium can be bad,” she says.
By Sam Oches