Thousands of tubes of fake Colgate toothpaste have been recalled by Britain's main chain stores Sainsbury's and Boots. Both stores have contacted customers directly and put up notices in shops concerning the counterfeit product sold between 28 November and 5 December.
Fake Colgate found in the US last year was discovered to contain a chemical ingredient used in anti-freeze. Sainsbury's said there were "no health risks" with the toothpaste that it had bought from a "reputable" supplier. "We believe there are no health risks associated with using the counterfeit toothpaste, but as it is not a genuine Colgate product we removed the affected tubes from our stores immediately," a spokesman for the supermarket said. "We believed the supplier we bought the toothpaste from was reputable, and we are carrying out a full investigation into how this occurred so that we can prevent it from happening again," he added. The fake toothpaste was labelled Colgate Cavity Protection and came in 100ml tubes. Sainsbury's has written to 17,000 customers warning them of the problem, and has put up recall notices in affected branches. For its part, Boots said it had contacted loyalty card customers who had bought the product and placed notices in stores. "We take the health and well-being of our customers extremely seriously." "As soon as we were made aware of a possible issue with this product, it was immediately withdrawn from sale," a Boots spokeswoman said. In 2007 Colgate alerted US consumers that counterfeit toothpaste bearing its brand name and possibly containing a deadly chemical has turned up in discount stores in four Northeast states. The phoney products' packaging was riddled with misspellings and gives the manufacturing location as South Africa, where Colgate doesn't make toothpaste. The warning came less than two weeks after the US FDA told consumers to stay away from all toothpaste made in China after discovering tubes containing diethylene glycol, a toxic chemical found in solvents and antifreeze. Tainted products have turned up in Costa Rica, the Dominican Republican, and Panama? where last year lethal cough syrup killed at least 100 people.