August 23, 2007 / 10:20 AM / 12 years ago

Saudi Arabia says finds toxic Chinese toothpaste

RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia has removed from shop shelves seven brands of Chinese toothpaste found to have a poisonous chemical in them, the government said on Thursday.

A statement on the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s Web site said tests had shown traces of diethylene glycol, used in coolants and solvents but too toxic for food and medicine.

It said officials have been ordered to remove the toothpaste from shops and destroy the samples, and asked consumers to inform the ministry of any products found on sale.

All Chinese toothpastes must now undergo tests before going on the market in Saudi Arabia, which has a population of over 24 million, the statement said, adding the tests that uncovered the toothpaste were part of routine checks on food and medicine.

China has recently been criticized for safety lapses involving food, drugs and other exports ranging from toys to clothes to toothpaste.

Chinese officials say the vast majority of the country’s exports meet standards and have pointed to quality problems in U.S. exports.

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