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Last Updated: Monday, 6 August 2007, 09:47 GMT 10:47 UK
Maputo seizes 'toxic toothpaste'
Colgate toothpaste tubes
In Mozambique, most people buy toothpaste on the streets
The Mozambique authorities have seized thousands of boxes of counterfeit toothpaste, which they fear may contain a potentially deadly chemical.

The seizures follow a ban on all sales of Colgate Maximum Cavity Protection toothpaste issued last week.

Colgate has denied any link with the products found in the capital, Maputo and around the country.

The boxes are labelled "Made in South Africa" but the true origin of the counterfeit products is not clear.

In June, some Chinese-made toothpaste, which also contained dangerous levels of diethylene glycol (DEG), normally used in anti-freeze and solvents was found in Canada and the US.

The chemical can cause abdominal pains, nausea, vomiting, damage to kidneys and liver and, if ingested in large amounts can be fatal.

But no cases of people falling sick have been reported in Mozambique.

Trading standards

According to the state-owned Radio Mozambique, the highest number of seizures occurred in the southern province of Gaza, where more than 13,000 boxes were removed from the shops.

Some tubes have expiry dates given as the 34th or 32nd day of the month.

The BBC's Jose Tembe in Maputo says that like many developing countries, Mozambique lacks the sophisticated consumer protection mechanisms of Western countries to ensure trading standards.

Many people buy toothpaste and other goods from informal traders who sell their wares in markets or on the streets.

Colgate is the most popular toothpaste in Mozambique - some people even use the brand name for any kind of toothpaste.

But our correspondent says some people are now switching to other makes.

Toxin found in fake UK toothpaste
12 Jul 07 |  Business
Colgate toothpaste in US recall
15 Jun 07 |  Business
China probes 'tainted' toothpaste
23 May 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Mozambique
07 Mar 07 |  Country profiles

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