POISON PASTE: Excel brand toothpaste was withdrawn from Farmer Charlie?s shelves after it was discovered that the product conta
POISON PASTE: Excel brand toothpaste was withdrawn from Farmer Charlie?s shelves after it was discovered that the product conta

Tough new laws after toothpaste scare

By JANE GARDNER

THE Federal Government is considering tougher chemical regulations after toxic toothpaste was found in a Northern Rivers supermarket chain two weeks ago.

While American government officials have placed a ban on imports of toothpaste from China, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration has only just begun to look into the issue.

TGA spokeswoman Kay McNiece said the toothpaste did not fall under the TGA's banner but they would consider investigating the current loophole which allows dangerous chemicals in ingestible cosmetics.

"This product being used by humans is of great concern," she said.

"Therefore, the TGA is investigating whether it needs to take further steps to regulate the chemical."

The Competition and Consumer Commission yesterday confirmed Farmer Charlie's had reported the recall to them, but said they would not investigate any further.

The Excel brand toothpaste, which contains poisonous diethylene glycol, was removed from Farmer Charlie's stores on May 17.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration confirmed the deadly chemical diethylene glycol is banned in food and medicine, however toothpaste is classed as a cosmetic and the product remains legal for sale in Australia.

Overseas governments are treating the import and sale of the tainted toothpaste with extreme seriousness.

The former director of China's top food and drug safety agency has been sentenced to death after pleading guilty to corruption and accepting bribes following an investigation by their government into diethylene glycol being added to the toothpaste and cough syrup.



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