Counterfeit toothbrushes a concern

  • Feb. 24, 2009 3:00 p.m.

Be careful when choosing your next toothbrush and take a closer look at the one you are currently using.

On Feb. 16, Health Canada issued a warning about counterfeit toothbrushes found on the Canadian market.

The toothbrushes are falsely labeled as Colgate Massager, Colgate Navigator, Oral B Classic 40, Oral B Contura and Colgate 360. Procter and Gamble Inc. and Colgate-Palmolive Canada Inc. have collaborated with Health Canada and confirmed these products are counterfeit

Health Canada previously issued a public advisory on July 18, 2008 on a counterfeit Oral B Classic 40 toothbrush based on a reported incident of the bristles becoming dislodged and caught in one user’s throat. Medical care was not required but the situation was considered a serious concern and since then, has proven to become an increasing problem.

Real Colgate toothbrushes can be identified by the packaging, printed in English and French only, reading “Dist. By/par: Colgate-Palmolive Canada Inc.,” and by a lot code moulded into the brush handle under the brush head. Genuine Oral B toothbrushes can be identified by the Oral B logo manufactured as part of the handle mode. Counterfeit Oral B toothbrushes have been known to have the logo printed in silver text on a peel away label. Illustrations of the counterfeit products can be viewed by visiting http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/

“If an imitation is suspected, consumers should stop using them immediately, as the quality, safety and effectiveness of counterfeit products cannot be assured,” Health Canada said in the advisory. “Retailers with stock purchased from the Canadian importer, AG Liquidation, should check products for authenticity and remove suspected counterfeit products from their shelves and contact Health Canada at 1-800-267-9675.

Health Canada has been and will continue to work with AG Liquidation to ensure that the counterfeit toothbrushes currently on the market are removed from sale. AG Liquidation has voluntarily recalled all manual counterfeits being sold in Canada.

As stated in the media advisory, Health Canada is taking collaborative action with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent these toothbrushes from entering the Canadian market.

Local Ponoka retailers have not yet had any returns but will be keeping close watch on the growing concern.