Saturday, July 21, 2007

China: UK & US Deadly toothpaste linked to corruption scandal

Deadly toothpaste linked to corruption scandal

Lancashire Trading Standards fear there may be links between potentially deadly toothpaste and a Chinese corruption scandal.
The fake Sensodyne toothpaste, which contains an ingredient used in anti-freeze, has been seized across Lancashire, with investigating officers saying it could be circulating in Preston.
Residents have been warned not to use the toothpaste, which is likely to be on sale in discount stores, markets and car boot sales.
The toothpaste contains the same deadly chemical found in batches of contaminated toothpaste from China. The chemical, diethylene glycol, was also found in cough syrup blamed for the deaths of 50 people in Panama last year.
The warnings follow the execution of the former head of China's State Food and Drug Administration, who was convicted of taking bribes which led to tainted medicines and goods entering the world market.
Steve Brimble, Trading Standards' lead officer for safety, said: "We are making enquiries to find out where this has come from. It is possible this could have originated in China. But that is speculation.
"If consumers have purchased the counterfeit toothpaste they should stop using it immediately. Any retailers who have the counterfeit toothpaste in stock should ensure that it is removed from sale and must not sell it."
The fake toothpaste is in Sensodyne Original and Sensodyne Mint 50ml tubes. They have a batch code of 'PROD 07 2005/EXP 08 2008' and are labelled in English livery with Arabic text.
Genuine Sensodyne Mint paste is white, while the fake paste is green. In both the genuine Sensodyne Original and the fake, the paste is pink.
Genuine Sensodyne toothpaste only comes in English only with no Arabic text. Sensodyne Original bears a product licence number of PL 0036/5011 and is supplied in tubes of 45ml and 75ml.
Genuine Sensodyne Mint bears the product licence of PL 0079/0225 and is supplied in tubes of 45ml and 75ml and a 100ml pump pack.
The fake packs have no connection with the manufacturer of Sensodyne, GlaxoSmithKline. Legitimate Sensodyne, labelled only in English and sourced from authorised suppliers, is not defective and the public can continue to purchase and safely use these products.
Last Updated: 20 July 2007 3:30 PM

U.S. checking all toothpaste imports from China

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- U.S. health officials are beginning to check all shipments of toothpaste coming from China, following reports of tainted products in other countries, a government spokesman said Wednesday.
The Food and Drug Administration has no evidence that contaminated toothpaste has made its way into the United States but is taking the step as a precaution, agency spokesman Doug Arbesfeld said.
China is the second-largest exporter of toothpaste to the United States behind Canada, according to the FDA.
The FDA's action comes after the lethal chemical diethylene glycol was found in toothpaste sold in the Dominican Republic and Panama.
It follows a wave of concern over pet food from China containing another toxic chemical, melamine, thought to have sickened thousands of U.S. cats and dogs and made its way into livestock feed.
"We are going to be sampling and testing all shipments of toothpaste that come from China," Arbesfeld said. "We're doing this as a precautionary measure. We have no evidence that toothpaste containing diethylene glycol has entered the country."
Tests on product pulled from shelves in Panama showed they contained high levels of diethylene glycol, used in engine coolants. Investigators in that country said two toothpaste brands were imported illegally from China through a free-trade zone.
Tainted toothpaste has also been reported in Australia, Arbesfeld said.
It was not immediately clear which brands of toothpaste sold in the Unites States are made in China.
Representatives of Colgate-Palmolive, maker of Colgate toothpaste, and Johnson & Johnson's McNeil-PPC Inc., which makes Rembrandt toothpaste, could not be immediately reached.
A Procter & Gamble spokeswoman said Crest brand toothpaste was American-made. A spokeswoman for GlaxoSmithKline Plc's consumer unit, which makes Aquafresh, had no immediate comment.
Chinese officials have said they plan to strengthen domestic food safety even as worries grow about its manufacturers' use of toxins and fake ingredients.
Earlier Wednesday, China called for an investigative team to probe the toothpaste incidents.
FDA's Arbesfeld said the U.S. agency is beginning its work immediately and will continue for 90 days, although that could be extended.
Arbesfeld added that the agency has been in contact with health officials in the other affected countries as well as China.