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Georgia consumer: Christmas ornaments recalled

POSTED: February 2, 2008 5:02 a.m.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Reeves International Inc., of Pequannock, N.J., announced a voluntary recall of 36,000 Christmas ornaments made in China that contain lead. Consumers should immediately stop using these ornaments and return them to the store where purchased for a full refund or contact Reeves International Inc. for a refund or exchange.

Contact Reeves International Inc. at (800) 444-4775 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or visit their Web site at www.breyerhorses.com to receive instructions for returning the ornaments. The recalled ornaments are: 2006 Snow Princess Stirrup Ornaments, 2007 Holiday Stirrup Ornaments and 2007 Photo Frame Horseshoe Ornaments.

Surface paints on the ornaments contain high levels of lead, violating the federal lead paint standards.

The 2006 Snow Princess Stirrup Ornament is a stirrup-shaped ornament with a white prancing horse and blue ribbons with "2006" stamped on the rim of the ornament. The 2007 Wintersong Stirrup Ornament is a stirrup-shaped ornament with a grey horse with saddle bags with a horn and a violin with "2007" stamped on the rim of the ornament. The 2007 Photo Frame Horseshoe Ornament is a horseshoe-shaped ornament with a brown horse with rider jumping over a gate. "Happy Holiday 2007" is printed on the back of the ornament.

The ornaments were sold at various retailers nationwide, including J.C. Penney Co. catalog and Web site from July 2006 through October 2007 for between $15 and $18.

Question: What makes the leaves turn such beautiful colors in the fall?

Answer: In many parts of the country, trees offer a breath-taking kaleidoscope of fall color. Chlorophyll, the pigment responsible for green leaf coloration and for trapping the sun's energy, disintegrates with cooler temperatures and shorter days, making other pigments become apparent. Three variable factors that control autumn color and intensity are the sugar formation in the leaf, the amount of sunshine received by the plants, and the temperature of the air.

Q: I have mixed cow manure in the soil where I plan to plant vegetables. Can I plant carrots, beets and tomatoes there?

A: Based on information provided by the University of Georgia College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences Cooperative Extension Service, cow manure is an excellent source for nutrients. However, manure applications should be based strictly on the nutrient requirement of the crop. The soil should be tested to determine nutrient need for the crop to be grown.

Q: What exactly does the date on an egg carton mean?

A: Many eggs reach stores only a few days after the hen lays them. Egg cartons with USDA grade shield on them must display the pack date (the day that the eggs were washed, graded and placed in the carton). The number is a three-digit code that represents the consecutive day of the year (the Julian date) starting with Jan. 1 as 001 and ending with Dec. 31 as 365.

Always purchase eggs before the Sell-By or EXP (expiration) date on the carton. After the eggs reach home, they may be refrigerated three to five weeks from the date they are placed in the refrigerator.

The Sell-By date will usually expire during that length of time, but the eggs are perfectly safe to use. This date is not federally required, but is required by some states including Georgia.

Consumer alerts

Christmas is the season to be jolly, but it is also the perfect time for consumer fraud. Before giving to charities or other helping hand organizations, making investments with strangers, or purchasing products or services from unknown companies or organizations, contact these agencies for assistance: Ag Consumer Line, 800-282-5852; Governor's Office of Consumer Affairs, 800-869-1123; National Fraud Information Center, 800-876-7060.

Although kerosene heaters keep many consumers warm in the winter, they can be a fire hazard.

Use only water-clear K-1 kerosene as fuel for your heater.

If you buy kerosene that is dispensed from a service station pump, don't assume just because the pump is marked for "kerosene" that is what is being dispensed.

Always check your fuel to make sure it is only kerosene. If the fuel has a gasoline odor, don't use it.

In case of problems with any petroleum product (gasoline, kerosene, diesel) always notify the location where the fuel was purchased immediately.

Also contact our Fuel and Measures offices to advise them of the situation using our toll free telephone number 800-282-5852.

If you have questions or problems with services or products regulated by the Georgia Department of Agriculture you may write the Office of Public Affairs, 19 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Room 226, Atlanta, GA 30334 or call (800) 282-5852. This column appears Sundays.



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