Fake Colgate toothpaste turns up in Costa Rica

Counterfeits of Colgate-Palmolive brand toothpaste – reported in Panama last month – have also been found in Costa Rica.

The country’s health ministry issued an alert a few days ago warning the public to be wary of Colgate Triple Accion in the wake of the alert in neighbouring Panama, as well as another brand (Double Fresh Colgate) not mentioned in the Panama alert.

It says now that it received reports from the public saying they had encountered products bearing the suspect lot numbers and expiration dates in the retail channel in Costa Rica, mainly in “Chinese” supermarkets.

Subsequent testing revealed that the suspect products were indeed counterfeit and – like those seized in Panama – are contaminated with diethylene glycol (DEG), an ingredient linked to a number of fatal poisoning incidents involving counterfeit products in the past.

The details of the suspect products are as follows:

  • Lot L9099CT1034 expiration date 04/22 on the front of the tube
  • L9099GT1034 Lot expiration date 04/22 on the box (see image)

According to Colgate-Palmolive, all its toothpastes only have a two-year expiration date from the point of manufacture, so any product currently claiming a 2022 expiry will be counterfeit, says the ministry.

The fakes also have a “barely perceptible” minty taste unlike the genuine product, have an unusual vicsous consistency and a strange odour and taste, it continues.

The tubes are made of a more rigid material, while the boxes are harder to open, with silicone sealed closures, and have a duller red colour than usual.

DEG is a clear, practically odourless liquid with a sweetish taste, and is rapidly absorbed and distributed within the body when consumed. It is metabolised in the liver to 2-hydroxyethoxyacetic acid (HEAA), which damages the kidneys and nerves.

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