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Customs warning after toothpaste samples tested (with photos)

    A spokesman for the Customs and Excise Department today (June 11), following consultation with the Department of Health, advised people to stop using three brands of toothpaste suspected of being unsafe for daily use.

     The Department of Health advised that under certain circumstances, using the toothpaste with diethylene glycol (DEG) content of 0.21% to 7.5% daily for tooth brushing could lead to DEG absorption above the tolerable daily intake level as allocated by the Scientific Committee of Food of the European Union. The department recommended that people should stop using the concerned toothpaste to protect their health.

     Customs officers had earlier drawn samples of toothpaste products from the local market and sent them to the Government Chemist for safety tests. Advice from the Department of Health was subsequently sought.

     Test results from Government Chemist showed that samples of three brands of toothpaste contained DEG, ranging from 0.21% to 7.5%.

     The Customs and Excise Department had approached the sole agents of the toothpaste of the three brands concerned, requiring them to stop supplying the toothpaste concerned.  They also undertook to recall them from the market.

     Customs will continue to conduct spot checks and purchase samples from the local market for safety tests by the Government Chemist.

     According to the Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance, no person shall import, manufacture or supply consumer goods unless the consumer goods comply with the general safety requirement. A person who commits the offence is liable on first conviction to a fine of $100,000 and to imprisonment for one year; and on subsequent conviction to a fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for two years.

     To report to Hong Kong Customs on suspected unsafe consumer goods, people are advised to mail to Consumer Protection and Prosecution Bureau, Customs and Excise Department, 11/F, North Point Government Office Building, 333 Java Road, North Point, Hong Kong or call the 24-hour Customs hotline 2545 6182.

Ends/Monday, June 11, 2007
Issued at HKT 18:14


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