The China syndrome & hotels

People who recall The China Syndrome, a three-decade old thriller with an all star cast, know that it had nothing to do with China, the country. The plot about a cover-up at a nuclear plant jokingly referred to how a meltdown would go all the way to China. Cover-ups of a different sort – only this time they are for real and from China – have resulted in a spate of recalls in a variety of industries and have finally hit the hotel industry.

Reuters reports on upscale hotel supplier of toiletries Gilchrist & Soames “recalling toothpaste made in China — that it had distributed to hotels in more than a dozen countries –after discovering the product contained a chemical used to make automobile antifreeze. Independent tests showed some samples contained diethylene glycol, a kidney and liver toxin and a central nervous system depressant. The recall involves 0.65-ounce tubes of toothpaste made in China by Ming Fai Enterprises International Co. Ltd. and distributed under the Gilchrist & Soames name. The company said it stopped shipping toothpaste made in China after it received an alert from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on June 1 about tainted product. At that time, it suggested to hotels that they stop offering the toothpaste until testing was “complete.”

The article notes that a ” fifth round of independent lab tests showed the presence of diethylene glycol in some samples from the Chinese supplier at levels exceeding FDA guidelines “, Gilchrist & Soames President Kathie De Voe said in a statement. Unsurprisingly, a spokeswoman for Gilchrist & Soames would not release the names of hotels affected by the recall nor would she say how many of the small tubes of toothpaste were involved.

There were other branded toothpastes including Colgate that had recalls and the FDA has posted a list of those at it website. Individual hotel companies ought to be forthright as well and inform the public to avert any injury to guests and to their brand.

Hotel operators, guests and consumers at large have a right to wonder as to what comes next from behind the Great Wall of China given the recall of toys contaminated by lead paint and sold by Mattel, the world’s largest toy maker, Chery (not accidentally close to the spelling of Chevy) cars made in China and sold in Europe that fold like cards in a crash and bridges that collapse causing deaths to tourists.