CHICAGO (Reuters) - Gilchrist & Soames said on Monday it was recalling toothpaste made in China — that it had distributed to hotels in more than a dozen countries —after discovering the product contained a chemical used to make automobile antifreeze.
Independent tests showed some samples contained diethylene glycol, a kidney and liver toxin and a central nervous system depressant.
The recall involves 0.65-ounce tubes of toothpaste made in China by Ming Fai Enterprises International Co. Ltd. and distributed under the Gilchrist & Soames name.
The company said it stopped shipping toothpaste made in China after it received an alert from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on June 1 about tainted product. At that time, it suggested to hotels that they stop offering the toothpaste until testing was complete.
The fifth round of independent lab tests showed the presence of diethylene glycol in some samples from the Chinese supplier at levels exceeding FDA guidelines, Gilchrist & SoamesPresident Kathie De Voe said in a statement.
A spokeswoman for the Indianapolis-based company, which provides a variety of toiletries to hotels, would not release the names of hotels affected by the recall and could not say how many of the small tubes of toothpaste were involved.
Gilchrist & Soames said it recalled toothpaste from hotels in Barbados, Belgium, Bermuda, Canada, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland, Turks & Caicos, the United Arab Emirates, Britain and the United States, and asked hotels to destroy any remaining inventory.
The company said the recall was being conducted in cooperation with the FDA. It also notified the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform in Britain.
Several other companies selling toothpaste made in China have already recalled products due to similar concerns.
The recall also comes two months after Colgate-Palmolive Co. discovered that counterfeit “Colgate” toothpaste may contain the chemical. Colgate does not use diethylene glycol in its toothpaste.
The FDA has posted a list of toothpastes found to contain diethylene glycol here .
Reporting by Jessica Wohl