Fake Colgate, Chinese toothpastes pose risks: Health Canada

The RCMP are investigating fake Colgate toothpaste contaminated with bacteria, while in a separate move, the government is stopping imports of Chinese toothpaste because it has found 21 tubes contaminated with a poison.

The RCMP are investigating fake Colgate toothpaste contaminated with a bacteria that could pose "a significant risk to health," Health Canada says.

In a separate announcement, it also said it has asked border guards to block imports of Chinese toothpaste becausethe department has found 21 samples contaminated with a poison.

The counterfeit Colgate toothpaste has beenremoved from the shelves of theEverything for a Dollar discount chain, where it was being sold, the department said.

The Chinese toothpaste is sold in Chinese markets and dollar stores across the country. The toothpaste is labelled mainly in Chinese, and there have been no reports of adverse reactions.

The 21 samples contain up to 13.7 per cent diethylene glycol (DEG), used in antifreeze and as a solvent.

Swallowing the toothpaste could cause nausea, abdominal pain, dizziness, urinary problems, kidney failure, breathing problems, lethargy, convulsions, coma and even death, the department's release said.

The risks from both the Chinese toothpaste and the fake Colgatetoothpaste are higher for children and vulnerable populations, such as patients with severe underlying diseases or with compromised immune systems.

"While toothpaste is not intended to be swallowed, it is often swallowed by young children," Health Canada said of both the problem toothpastes.

Counterfeittoothpaste contains bacteria

The toothpaste with bacteria is marked Colgate Fluoride Toothpaste Herbal and Colgate Fluoride Toothpaste Maximum Cavity Protection, 100 ml. The Maximum Cavity Protection brand is labelled"Manufactured in South Africa" and contains misspellings including "isclinically," "SOUTH AFRLCA" and "South African Dental Assoxiation."

It does not have bilingual packaging, and it also lacks an eight-digit drug identification number or a natural product number.

Genuine Colgate toothpaste is labelled in English and French.

Health Canada said the fake toothpaste contains a type of bacteria from the Enterobacteriaceae family, which can cause fever and gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.

A third counterfeit toothpaste,labelled Colgate, Fluoride Toothpaste Gel, has also been found.

Consumers should not use toothpaste with the incorrect markings.Consumers who suspect they have a tubecan call Health Canada at 1-800-267-9675.

Chinese toothpaste to be stopped at border

Health Canadahas askedretailers to remove all Chinese toothpaste from their shelves.

On June 5, Health Canada asked the Canada Border Services Agency to stop shipments of toothpaste originatingin China.

Toothpaste withDEG has also been found in theUnited States.