Tainted toothpaste found in luxury market

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Toothpaste, China

Tainted toothpaste has turned up among the supplies of a luxury
provider of toiletries for international hotels, taking the Chinese
toothpaste scare beyond the gray market.

Hotels in over a dozen countries are to be affected as the US-based firm Gilchrist & Soames begins a voluntary recall of their Chinese-made toothpaste after the anti-freeze ingredient diethylene glycol (DEG) was found in samples. The compound is a kidney and liver toxin, which can be fatal in large quantities. Toothpaste containing DEG has turned up all over the world, but this is the first time it has found its way into the potentially lethal ingredient has been found in a high quality product. Gilbert & Soames ordered the recall after independent tests, ordered after the FDA alert on June 1, found DEG in samples of their mini toothpaste tubes, which are manufactured in China by Ming Fai Enterprises International. The identification of the manufacturer may help the investigation into the source of some of the other tainted toothpaste cases, which had murkier origins. Hotels in countries all over the world including France, Germany, Mexico and America will be affected by the recall, which is being conducted with the cooperation of the FDA and the knowledge of the European authorities. Gilchrist & Soames has stopped all outgoing shipments and quarantined its Chinese-made toothpaste. It has also asked all its hotel clients to safely dispose of the toothpaste and is working with the hotels to advise guests to throw away the 0.65oz product. The FDA is not aware of any poisonings from tainted toothpaste and it is unlikely whether the latest scare will produce any casualties, because the tubes were so small. "We are thankful that the small size of our tubes may help reduce the risk. However, we strongly encourage consumers to dispose of any of the recalled toothpaste they may still have," said Kathie De Voe, President of Gilchrist & Soames. The news of the latest tainted toothpaste scare comes as the pressure of the export safety crisis takes a life. A Chinese factory owner committed suicide yesterday after toys produced by his firm were found to contain dangerous quantities of lead. Realizing the potential economic damage of the export safety crisis, the Chinese government is beginning to take action and put pressure on manufacturers. It has recently announced a ban on DEG and has pledged $1bn to fight the problem in a bid to reassure the export market.

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