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Colgate Finds Phony Toothpaste

Colgate-Palmolive (CL - Get Report) is warning consumers to be on the lookout for counterfeit toothpaste that's carrying labels indicating it was made by the company.

Discount stores in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland were found to be selling "Colgate" toothpaste manufactured in South Africa and containing the dangerous compound diethylene glycol, or DEG.

New York-based Colgate stated its toothpaste has never contained DEG, and the company has never used South Africa as a manufacturer for its toothpaste. The company also noted that the fake product was found to not have fluoride, a mainstay ingredient in Colgate toothpaste. Additionally, the packaging contained numerous misspellings.

The news comes just two weeks after the Food and Drug Administration alerted consumers to not purchase toothpaste made in China after inspectors discovered DEG in tubes. The regulators went on to issue an import alert with the goal of preventing Chinese toothpaste with DEG from entering the U.S. market.

DEG has been surreptitiously used as a sweetener and is sometimes found in solvents and antifreeze. Toothpaste made with the compound was discovered in Central America in 2006. The chemical was also attributed to at least 100 deaths in Panama when it was found in a cough syrup, Reuters reported.

Earlier this year, melamine was found in some Colgate pet food products. That led to a recall of two Hill's Pet Nutrition cat foods that may have contained the tainted ingredient. The recall resulted in a minimal charge in the first quarter.

The company stated that it's "working closely with the U.S. FDA to help identify those responsible for the counterfeit product."

Shares of Colgate were down 0.7% at $67.01 Thursday.

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