Manila: Philippine authorities were subjecting more Chinese-made products to tests following the detection of the poisonous preservative formaldehyde in three food products from China.
The Bureau of Food and Drug (BFAD) said that a Chinese toothpaste brand popular with Filipinos was being analysed over suspicion that it contained poisonous substances such as heavy metals.
BFAD officials refused to divulge the name of the product but the toothpaste band Maxam has been popular for years because of its cheap price. Maxam toothpaste products come packaged in lead tubes.
The use of lead tubes in toothpaste packaging has long been discarded in most countries in view of the toxic effects of lead on brain cells.
The tests on the toothpaste product came two days after the BFAD recommended a ban on certain biscuits and candies from China after tests run by the bureau proved positive for formaldehyde content.
According to BFAD deputy director Joshua Ramos, formaldehyde, one of the most common applications of which is in embalming the dead, was being used by Chinese biscuit and candymakers as a preservative.
Ramos identified White Rabbit candy, manufactured by the Romanticfish Food Industry and Bairong Grape Biscuits, made by Dongguan Bairong Food Stuff Company of Shanghai, as the adulterated products.
"The distributors will be enjoined to withdraw (these products) from the market until such time that there will be evidence that they are safe," Ramos was quoted as saying by the report.
Studies conducted by the US Department of Labour's Occupational Safety and Health Administration had linked formaldehyde to fatal diseases such as brain and lung cancer and leukaemia.
Meanwhile, the Philippines' Department of Agriculture is checking the veracity of reports about the suspension of selected poultry and meat imports from the Philippines by China.
Agriculture Undersecretary Segfredo Serrano issued the statement following news reports that Beijing had suspended imports of frozen chicken feet and other animal parts from nine companies in the US, Vietnam and at least one firm in the Philippines, after inspectors allegedly found traces of arsenic and salmonella in the products.