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China bans teddy bear made in Tasmania

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Chinese authorities have banned the import of lavender heat pack teddy bears made in Tasmania because of fears they pose a biosecurity risk.

The ABC reports that the toys, called ‘Bobbie’, have become a real hit in China. They are not just teddy bears, but double as heat packs and can be used to treat pain and encourage sleep.

They are so popular that many fakes have been reproduced.

Chinese quarantine services discovered wheat contaminated with moths and weevils within one of the copied teddy bears and declared them a biosecurity threat.

As a result, all lavender teddy bears, including the genuine items from Tasmania have been banned.

"We found lots of serious epidemic problems," Yin Liping from the Shanghai Inspection and Quarantine Bureau said.

"It shocked us that those seeds haven't been processed at all.

"We ran the germination examination and 100 per cent of them are alive. It brought risks to us."

However, according to Jan Davis from The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association, the ban is an overreaction.

"The Chinese reaction should in our view be to focus on the source of the dodgy knock-offs, not blanketly say 'no more bears can come into China'," she told the ABC.

The success of the products in China surprised their maker, Robert Ravens. He told The Wall Street Journal, "We're not aiming to dominate the world of fluffy bears. Our business is fine lavender."

"But somehow we've tapped the cultural psyche of 30-year-old Chinese ladies."

They are sold in China for about 300 yuan ($52), and the price has increased five times in the last five years. 

Image: ABC

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