Gilchrist & Soames, the leading supplier of toiletries for hotels announced earlier today that it is recalling tubes of toothpaste, which are commonly provided, free of charge, to guests in many hotels and resorts. The toothpaste, which is made in China, is being recalled after tests showed that it may contain potentially toxic chemicals.
Gilchrist & Soames reported that testing to samples revealed unacceptable levels of diethylene glycol, a chemical found in antifreeze. Ingesting diethylene glycol can result in kidney and liver damage.
In a continuing series of recalls of Chinese products, this toothpaste is made by Ming Fai Enterprises International Co. Ltd. To date, the other recalls involve children’s toys, tires and pet food and call into question both the standards by which products are manufactured in China and the standards established by the United States’ Food and Drug Administration regulating imported goods. The FDA has no reports of any incidents involving Gilchrist & Soames toothpaste in the United States.
In two related stories,the Chinese government announced plans to spend more than $1 billion to regulate food and drug safety by the year 2010. Governmental agencies charged with regulating manufacturing will have improved powers of oversight for companies in China. And, sadly, the CEO and co-owner of Lee Der Industrial company, apparently distraught over lead-tainted toys that were recalled earlier this month, committed suicide at a warehouse over the weekend, apparently by hanging himself.
It is past time for the United States government and the Food and Drug Administration to tighten restrictions and testing of products entering the stream of commerce in this country.