When I wrote up my suspicions about Colgate toothpaste, I got a few snickers. Some people thought I had discovered a big pile of nothing.
If you recall, the FDA has banned the import of all Chinese-made toothpaste, after it was discovered that some brands had been using a chemical called diethylene glycol as a thickener. DEG is toxic.
These toothpastes were dollar-store variety brands with names like Cooldent.
The major brands, like Colgate, are not made in China for import into the United States.
But I found an interview with Cheng Siwei, and high-ranking Chinese Communist Party official, in which he brags about how everything Americans use is made in China, including Colgate toothpaste. In fact, Cheng Siwei was very clear on Colgate toothpaste:
CHENG SIWEI: Yes. And they use a toothbrush, it's made in China. The Colgate Toothpaste is made in China.
PAUL SOLMAN: Colgate Toothpaste is made in China?
CHENG SIWEI: Certainly. American people are really benefiting from cheaper Chinese goods.
But Steve, clearly you're trying to make a lot out of a two-year-old PBS interview. Kind of pathetic, really.
Colgate-Palmolive Co. said Thursday counterfeit "Colgate" toothpaste that may contain a toxic chemical had been found in discount stores in four U.S. states.
"There are indications that this product does not contain fluoride and may contain diethylene glycol," the company said in a statement.
Colgate-Palmolive said it does not use, nor has ever used, diethylene glycol as an ingredient in its toothpaste anywhere in the world. The chemical, known as DEG and sometimes illegally used as an inexpensive sweetener and thickening agent, is commonly used in solvents and antifreeze.
The Colgate-Palmolive announcement comes less than two weeks after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned consumers to avoid any toothpaste made in China after inspectors found DEG in tubes sold at two stores.
I'll take that as validation.
Some more information on the dangerous toothpaste:
Colgate-Palmolive said the counterfeit toothpaste was found in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland. It can be recognized because it is labelled as being manufactured in South Africa, and the company does not import toothpaste to the United States from South Africa.
The packaging also contains several misspellings, Colgate said, adding it was working closely with the FDA to help to identify those responsible for the counterfeit product.
DEG-contaminated toothpaste has also been seized in Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Panama and Nicaragua. It was also found in cough syrup in Panama that led to the deaths of at least 100 people last year.
The FDA issued its alert about Chinese toothpaste after seizing a batch of Cooldent found to contain 3 per cent DEG. Inspectors found the toothpaste at a Dollar Plus store in Miami and at a store called Todo a Peso in Puerto Rico.
The FDA identified products by Goldcredit International Enterprises Ltd., Goldcredit International Trading Co. Ltd., and Suzhou City Jinmao Daily Chemicals Co. Ltd as containing DEG.
So there. I didn't consider deliberately mislabelled toothpaste as being a problem, but then I don't think like a criminal.
Hat tip to Lance.
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