Getting out of the bed, heading towards the bathroom, brushing teeth!
Seems familiar? Well, a majority of us follow the same schedule almost every day. Brushing teeth is one of the most important and immediate activities we perform at the beginning of our day. Some of us are half-asleep while we brush our teeth. What bathing does for our bodies, brushing does for teeth, in fact, it is way important.
Toothpaste is one of the most important FMCG product used in our day-to-day lives. Like all other major FMCG industries, toothpaste too is susceptible to a lot of counterfeiting.
Not meant to be swallowed, but little children always have a tendency to swallow some part of it. Counterfeit toothpaste can be life-taking and cause some very dangerous effects on the body.
Swallowing counterfeit toothpaste can cause nausea, dizziness, urinary problems, abdominal pain, kidney failure, breathing problems, convulsions, coma and even death. The risks from counterfeit toothpaste are higher for children and vulnerable populations, such as patients with severe diseases or with compromised immune systems.
Some of the renowned health organisations have confirmed that fake toothpaste contains a type of bacteria from the Enterobacteriaceae family, which can cause fever and gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
Many samples of fake toothpaste were found to contain 13.7% diethylene glycol (DEG), used in antifreeze and as a solvent.
How to protect yourself against using a fake toothpaste:
The most important step to combat counterfeiting is reporting it immediately when you come across selling of any counterfeit product. Inform the appropriate authorities and contact the seller and alert them to cease sales immediately.
The best example is that of Colgate which gives us so much to learn and think about.
In 2007, there was immense hue and cry over the selling of fake Colgate toothpaste in the U.S. without wasting any time, Colgate took an aggressive stance after the outburst of its fake toothpaste. Colgate stood against counterfeit producers and actively investigated counterfeiting activities around the world and continues to do so till date.
Some of the key initiatives taken by Colgate are:
• It works closely with global government agencies, including Customs, to assist in halting importation of counterfeit product
• It investigates manufacturers and importers of counterfeit goods to stop counterfeiting at its source
• It executes seizures and raids throughout the world and prevents counterfeit product from entering the market
• It conducts training sessions with customs agents in various countries to assist their anti-counterfeiting efforts to aid them in recognizing counterfeit toothpaste
• It takes appropriate legal action against the counterfeit manufacturers and distributors
Identifying genuine Colgate toothpaste
Colgate products are sold in a wide variety of retail channels, supermarkets, pharmacies, general merchandise stores etc. To help customers identify genuine Colgate toothpaste made for sale in the United States, it has also come out with a set of important identification marks to look for while purchasing their products:
For example, some words like “Distr. by Colgate-Palmolive, New York, NY 10022” are present in the lower right-hand corner of a panel on the box. In the white box containing the UPC barcode, genuine Colgate products for sale in the U.S. begin with the code number 35000.
Identifying counterfeit products
Consumers should always be aware of the negative and ill- effects of illegally manufactured counterfeit products on health.
Here are some indicators to look for to identify this illegally manufactured and distributed counterfeit product:
• The counterfeit toothpaste comes labeled as a 5 ounce (or 100 ml tube), a size that is not made or sold by Colgate in the United States
• Some of the words on the package are “Manufactured by COLGATE-PALMOLIVE (PTV) LTD., SOUTH AFRICA – 52 Commissioner Street, Boksburg, 1460”
• There may be many misspelled words on the product carton like “SOUTH AFRLCA”, “isclinically” and “South African Dental Assoxiation”
After such a massive anti-counterfeiting initiative, the selling of fake Colgate has almost become negligible in the U.S. The manufacturers, retailers, and buyers in India should adopt the same aggressive approach to fight counterfeiting because no matter how little the product is, it keeps immense tendency to cause irreversible destruction.