Toothpaste in China

As you all know I post about travel in China on a regular basis. My son lives and works there. He and his wife are educators. So I follow news from China with a great deal of interest.

The world is taking a very hard look at China right now because they are becoming a real power house in the world market. When I saw the article about ‘anti-freeze’ in toothpaste manufactured in China, I could not help but take a closer look.
The article from the MS NBC web site stated that “the chemical is a thickening agent often used as a low-cost substitute for glycerin. It was blamed for the deaths of at least 51 people in Panama last year after it was mixed into cough syrup, another case with allegations involving China.” I see this evening that some of the toothpaste has indeed been found in this country in the ports of Los Angeles and Miami. The Chinese government has also banned the use of the substance and executed a high ranking official for taking bribes from producers of drugs and food. Reuters said:

Zheng Xiaoyu, former head of the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA), dominated television and print news a day after he was executed for taking some 6.5 million yuan ($850,000) in bribes to let medicine companies slip past his regulatory net.

It was also interesting when the government newspaper in China came out in opposition to government officials that allow such things to happen.

I did not know toothpaste was imported from China. Tennis shoes yes! But toothpaste????

I did not know that the substance called diethylene glycol used as an engine coolant was thought to be safe to eat in small quantities. Not in China or anywhere for that matter. I did not know and it makes me wonder what else I do not know.

Now a lot of companies including Proctor & Gamble, Colgate Palmolive, and manufacturers of Aqua Fresh claim to manufacture in the United States. When I looked on my tube of Sensodyne toothpaste, I noticed it was produced in the US. Johnson & Johnson could not be reached for comment. But not one of them denied putting the diethylene glycol in their toothpaste!! Doesn’t that seem strange?

I, as a rule, don’t buy food stuff made in China unless I am visiting the country. Then I eat whatever I want as long as it is very hot. When I am at home I don’t pay that much attention and assume that the grocery stores are stocked with US toothpaste, etc. I also assume that the FDA is watching out for me. Am I naive or what!!!

I don’t know if this means anything in the long run. The Chinese are now suffering from the closer scrutiny that comes with success in the world market. They are swift and cruel when it comes to punishment. The official that was executed was tried this in late May of this year, the appeal came in June and he is now dead!

Oh yes, my son said that the ‘warden’ that gives information on storms, tainted food etc. to foreign businesses in Shanghai had warned them this spring that the toothpaste manufactured in China should be thrown away. It was unsafe to use it. The communists seem to have good intentions and they try to control a huge population that is not always on their side. It is very interesting to watch.

Just thought you might want to know.



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