Seems the Chinese are hell-bent on destroying their own markets (unlike the Indians who have at least learned to listen to their markets and try and move forward with them). In the latest saga of Chinese firms cheating on the ingredients to increase bottom-line profits, the New Your Times reports again, this time on tainted toothpaste. Walt Bogdanich reports in Wider Sale Is Seen for Toothpaste Tainted in China on 28 June 28 2007, that “Roughly 900,000 tubes containing a poison have turned up in hospitals and prisons, according to health officials.”
This is on top of reports on CNN today about the Food and Drug Administration in the US increasing the testing levels on Chinese Farm Produced fish which has been exhibiting high levels of toxins in it.
The Chinese response to the toothpaste was noted in the New York Times as:
Diethylene glycol is often used in Chinese toothpaste in place of its more expensive chemical cousin glycerin. Chinese regulators have said that toothpaste with small amounts of diethylene glycol is not harmful and that international concern is unjustified.
OK, so next time your car’s cooling system freezes in winter, squeeze a tube of Chinese toothpaste in it, as that is what diethylene gycol is, anti-freeze.
I noted on the blog here before previous examples of the Chinese use of diethylene glycol. See the postings
F.D.A. Tracked Tainted Drugs, but Trail Went Cold in China on 18 June 2007 and 7 May 2007, From China to Panama, a Trail of Poisoned Medicine.
Really, this is a simple problem to overcome and I would have thought that the Chinese government had the wherewithal to take the necessary action. I am sure that rather than trying to clean up their acts to start with, the initial reactions from the Chinese will be that these are politically motivated problems and that the US is just trying to restrict imports from China. Of course, this overlooks the fact that many other countries have gone through the same pain exporting to the US, and Europe for that matter, and they have generally managed to overcome their problems by ensuring that the goods they shipped met local health and safety requirements.