Beginning Next Week: InsideCounsel will become part of Corporate Counsel. Bringing these two industry-leading websites together will now give you comprehensive coverage of the full spectrum of issues affecting today's General Counsel at companies of all sizes. You will continue to receive expert analysis on key issues including corporate litigation, labor developments, tech initiatives and intellectual property, as well as Women, Influence & Power in Law (WIPL) professional development content. Plus we'll be serving all ALM legal publications from one interconnected platform, powered by, giving you easy access to additional relevant content from other InsideCounsel sister publications.

To prevent a disruption in service, you will be automatically redirected to the new site next week. Thank you for being a valued InsideCounsel reader!


More On

The Year in Review: #8. Red Alert

When it comes to U.S. consumers there are three things companies should never mess with--their pets, stomachs and kids. Thanks to poor oversight in factories in China, corporate America messed with all three in 2007 and paid a hefty price for doing so.

It started with pet food. To boost protein levels in pet food bound for U.S markets, Chinese factories added melamine, a chemical used to make fertilizer. That chemical was blamed for the deaths of hundreds of pets in March. Then reports surfaced that some foods imported from China were unfit for human consumption.

The coup de gr??ce, though, was the toxic paint fiasco. During the course of the summer, American companies recalled millions of Chinese-made toys that were tainted with lead paint. The hardest-hit company was Mattel, which recalled 21 million toys. The cost of those recalls--and the pursuant litigation from consumers and shareholders--has yet to be calculated. But because it's hard to prove these defective toys actually hurt anyone, Mattel most likely will emerge relatively unscathed.

The more significant cost to companies such as Mattel, though, is the realization that outsourcing to China is not as profitable as they once believed.

"For years American companies have been turning a blind eye to the problems of importing products from China," says Dan Harris, partner at Seattle-based Harris & Moure and author of the China Law Blog.

This has been a wake-up call. Companies are going to have to spend a lot more time and money testing and monitoring the quality of these products."

Staff Writer

Bio and more articles

Join the Conversation

Advertisement. Closing in 15 seconds.