Published: 04/06/2007 12:00 AM (UAE)
By Sunita Menon and Abbas Al Lawati, Staff Reporters
Dubai: Consumers have been warned against using certain brands of Chinese toothpaste as the concerned authorities here were busy passing the buck.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday in its advisory had warned consumers to avoid using tubes of toothpastes labelled as made in China, and issued an import alert to prevent toothpaste containing the poisonous chemical diethylene glycol (DEG) from entering the US. The FDA has raised concerns that the products may contain - diethylene glycol or DEG or diglycol stearate, used in solvents.
While the Ministry of Health here said the responsibility of controlling a consumer product like toothpaste lies with the municipalities, a senior official from the General Secretariat of Municipalities (GSM) said a public warning is issued after it receives a notification of safety concerns about a particular product from the Ministry of Health.
Dr Eisa Al Mansouri, director of the Department of Drug Control at the ministry, said the chemical found in the Chinese toothpastes, diethylene glycol (DEG) was indeed poisonous and "could cause harm to those who ingest it".
He said the responsibility of issuing a warning does not lie with the department since toothpastes are a consumer product which municipalities are responsible for.
Dr Ameen Yousuf, a food and safety consultant at the GSM, said public warnings are issued after it receives a list of products about which the Ministry of Health has safety concerns. He said: "The Ministry of Health has not forwarded us any notification on these toothpastes."
Yousuf said there are hundreds of the products in the market which fall in the grey area - they are neither categorised under pharmaceuticals nor in food.
He said: "Usually we receive a list of such products from the ministry. We issue a public warning and then get the products off the market. Currently there is no specific body established to approve or disapprove products that fall in the grey area."
Caution: FDA identifies Chinese brands
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has identified the following brands of toothpaste from China that contain DEG and are included in the import alert: Cooldent Fluoride; Cooldent Spearmint; Cooldent ICE; Dr. Cool, Everfresh Toothpaste; Superdent Toothpaste; Clean Rite Toothpaste; Oralmax Extreme; Oral Bright Fresh Spearmint Flavor; Bright Max Peppermint Flavor; ShiR Fresh Mint Fluoride Paste; DentaPro; DentaKleen; and DentaKleen Junior.
- Source: FDA News