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Indiana State Department of Health

Food Protection Home > Recalls and Advisories > 2008 Advisories > Toxic Chinese Toothpaste Toxic Chinese Toothpaste

The following information has been received by our office from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is provided in case of consumer inquires. If you have any questions, please feel free to call this office at 317-233-7360, or visit our website at http://www.in.gov/isdh/regsvcs/foodprot/index.htm.


L.A. CITY ATTORNEY FILES CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST LOCAL IMPORTERS, DISTRIBUTORS OF 70,000+ TUBES OF TOXIC CHINESE TOOTHPASTE

LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, the City’s chief prosecutor, today announced his office, in coordination with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has filed criminal charges against Vernon Sales, Inc., and Selective Imports Corporation, two local companies found importing and distributing more than 70,000 tubes of toothpaste manufactured in China which contain the poisonous chemical diethylene glycol (DEG), also known as diglycol
– a substance banned from entering the United States in certain products.

Kamyab Toofer, President of Vernon Sales, Inc., and Pejman Mossay, the company’s vice-president, were each charged with 14 criminal counts for receiving, selling and delivering an adulterated drug – any product containing a banned substance. Frahad Nazarian, President of Selective Imports Corp., and Yones Ghermezi, the company’s vice-president, were also charged with two criminal counts each for receiving, selling and delivering products containing DEG. Each count carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

In addition to its common use in antifreeze and as a solvent, diethylene glycol is used in China as a thickening agent substitute for glycerin, a sweetener used in cough syrup and toothpaste. The use of DEG in toothpaste and cough syrup is strictly prohibited by the FDA as there are potential risks of toxicity and injury from chronic exposure in certain populations including children and individuals with kidney or liver disease