Tainted toothpaste update
This article was originally published in The Rose Sheet
Two men and two corporations pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to charges of trafficking counterfeit Colgate toothpaste, including some that contained diethylene glycol, the Department of Justice announces Aug. 21. Saifoulaye Diallo and Habib Bah, both of New York, and two New York companies, Mabass Inc. and Vidtape Inc., admit to having trafficked a total of 518,028 tubes of the counterfeit Colgate toothpaste, with an estimated retail value of $730,419, and selling the products to secondary distributors and small- to medium-sized discount stores in several states. The products were imported from China, packaged in Colgate-looking trade dress, and did not contain fluoride while some contained microorganisms such as bacillus spores, according to DOJ. Diallo and Habib each face up to 10 years in prison, a $2 million fine and three years' probation after release, DOJ says. U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized more than 1,400 tubes of toothpaste adulterated with antifreeze ingredient DEG in Charleston, S.C. in fall 2007 after FDA ordered the detention of all such products that summer (1"The Rose Sheet" Oct. 8, 2007, In Brief)
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Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt and FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach are in China the week of Nov. 17 to consult with Chinese counterparts, conduct two workshops and open offices in three cities, HHS says Nov. 13. Last month, Leavitt laid out a timeline for opening and staffing foreign FDA offices to work with local authorities and industries that export to the U.S. FDA staffers are slated to begin in Beijing by the end of 2008; other offices will open in Shanghai and Guangzhou next year. FDA also will launch an office in New Delhi, India, before year's end, Leavitt indicated. Working closely with foreign regulators is a large component of FDA's Import Safety Action Plan. Imported counterfeit toothpaste tainted with diethylene glycol has been on FDA's radar since it ordered the detention of all such products in summer 2007 (1"The Rose Sheet" Sept. 1, 2008, In Brief)
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Charleston, S.C. announce Oct. 3 they have seized 1,440 tubes of toothpaste adulterated with antifreeze ingredient diethylene glycol (DEG). CBP says the toothpaste has deceptive country-of-origin markings: Shrink-wrap on the outside of the boxes is marked "made in China" while the boxes themselves are marked "made in India." The agency says officers performed an initial examination of the shipment in July and sent samples to a lab where they tested positive for DEG. China has banned firms in the country from using DEG as a toothpaste ingredient after FDA discovered DEG in multiple Chinese-manufactured products and in June ordered the detention without physical examination of all dentifrice products containing DEG (1"The Rose Sheet" June 11, 2007, p. 8)...
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