A Side Effect of the Flat World

Aside from reducing barriers, increasing reach and generally creating a bit of a level playing field, the new flattening of the world is also introducing problems that we may never have expected to be exposed to before. An increase in supply chain transparency is revealing the seedy underbelly of global “differences” in quality standards.

Finding toothpaste that isn’t intended for consumption in Canada, or toothpaste that doesn’t meet the Canadian health standards makes for nervous brushing.

The issue came to light after a consumer noticed his tube of Colgate was missing French labelling, contained spelling errors and was labelled as being manufactured in South Africa.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a nationwide alert last week after similar tubes - some of which were found to contain a cheap glycerin substitute called diethylene glycol - were discovered in four states.
Colgate has said it does not sell 100 millilitre tubes of toothpaste in the United States, nor does it import toothpaste into the U.S. from South Africa.
Funny - Colgate claims that they don’t import toothpaste into the US from South Africa. This statement could be taken a few ways - they import toothpaste (for US consumption) from other places; and that the South African toothpaste is destined for places other than the US.

All of this begs the question of differing health standards in different countries, and how the flatting of the world, at some point, needs to include the harmonization of some of the basic standards, if only to reduce the risk of illness or injury when products are erroneously imported and exported. Shouldn’t the folks in the rest of the world have the same quality of toothpaste that we enjoy in Canada? Cheap glycerine substitute? No thanks.


Technorati Tags: , ,