China says U.S. warning on toothpaste irresponsible

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has branded a U.S. warning against using its toothpaste as irresponsible, saying low levels of diethylene glycol (DEG) were not harmful.

“So far we have not received any report of death resulting from using the toothpaste. The U.S. handling (of this case) is neither scientific nor responsible,” China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said in a statement posted on its Web site over the weekend.

“All the toothpaste exported to the United States had been registered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for marketing in the States.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued the warning on Friday after toothpaste containing DEG was detected in a shipment seized at the border.

The seizure was the most recent in a series of scares over the safety of locally made products which have put China’s food and drug exports under scrutiny around the world.

Similarly contaminated toothpaste has been seized across Latin America, and in Panama, the government says at least 100 people died after taking cough syrup that contained DEG, an industrial solvent used in paint and antifreeze.

The FDA identified products by Goldcredit International Enterprises Ltd., Goldcredit International Trading Co. Ltd., and Suzhou City Jinmao Daily Chemicals Co. Ltd as containing DEG. Brands include Cooldent, Clean Rite and Oralmax and are usually found at discount retailers, the FDA said.

“It is not allowed. There are restrictions limiting its use,” said an employee at Suzhou City Jinmao Daily Chemicals on Saturday, when asked about DEG.

The employee, reached by telephone, declined to be named and said he was new at the company and was not too familiar with its exports.

An employee at Goldcredit International Trading Co. Ltd., said the company did not export to the United States but declined to comment further.