Outcry over fake toothpaste

ZIMBABWE, grappling with a six-year economic crisis, has been flooded by counterfeit toothpaste bearing the Colgate brand name.


This comes against a background of reports that at least 14 containers of counterfeit Colgate toothpa

ste were on the high seas headed for Zimbabwe.


Minutes of a stakeholder meeting organised by the Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) indicated that there were three common counterfeit Colgate brands on the market, most of them originating from the Far East.


These had been discovered after a public outcry forced Colgate-Palmolive Company (CPC) to seize about 98 cases of the fake Colgate toothpaste at the end of March at a wholesaler in Harare.


The SAZ meeting, chaired by SAZ managing director, Maureen Mutasa, revealed that of the three samples collected for testing by SAZ, two of the counterfeits were unsafe and did not eliminate bad breathe.


Instead, the two counterfeit products “cause bacterial infection leading to bad breath”, a study into samples collected by SAZ showed.


“The two unsafe samples had excessive levels of yeast and other bacteria with one containing large numbers of Stapylococcus aureus… the unsafe samples did not have the normal mint flavour typical of toothpaste,” SAZ said in a notice issued this week.


Stapylococcus aureus is a bacteria that causes ear and chest infection.


SAZ’s meeting with key stakeholders was aimed at trying to find a resolution to a looming health crisis that could be triggered by the use of counterfeits, which could also damage the image of the Colgate brand.


Stakeholders included the Ministry of Health, CPC, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra), the Retailers Association of Zimbabwe and the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe which said it had received numerous complaints from the public on the counterfeit products. As a result, SAZ says it will embark on a feasibility study to determine how it can get involved in the import or export quality control or certification of goods following a public outcry on the quality of imported goods, particularly from the Far East. — Staff Writer.

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