Chinese condom maker barred over concerns in Africa

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 April, 2013, 3:59am

Henan authorities have ordered a condom maker to suspend sales of its products, recently found to be problematic in Ghana, because they could tarnish the reputation of Chinese exports to Africa.

The Henan Food and Drug Administration launched a product quality probe and banned the sale of condoms made by the Xibei Latex Company.

A staff member in the administrative office in Yanjin county, Xinxiang, said yesterday that production and business activities halted last weekend.

"They (government inspectors) have taken samples from all product lines for examination," he said. "We have not been informed of the results yet, but they were very serious."

They (government inspectors) have taken samples from all product lines for examination. We have not been informed of the results yet, but they were very serious

He said that after coming under government pressure, the head of the company and two subordinates had flown to Ghana to help local authorities investigate the problematic condoms.

Trade was the focus of a trip to the continent by President Xi Jinping last month, with China in need of natural resources and Africa eager for consumer products. Ghana's food and drug authorities seized more than a million Xibei condoms last week because of concerns they had holes, were too fragile or too small, The Guardian reported.

International NGOs said they were worried the condoms could lead to major public health concerns in a country already troubled by high maternal mortality, unsafe abortions and Aids.

Henan authorities said Xibei sold more than 140 million condoms last year, with more than 70 per cent exported. Major foreign buyers included Vietnam, Bangladesh, Kenya and Poland.

About three-quarters of the more than 40 million condoms sold in China last year were bought by the National Health and Family Planning Commission for population control.

In a review of its 13 condom suppliers in 2011, the commission ranked Xibei 12th, with the second lowest score for quality.

An official with the department in charge of the review said yesterday the condoms the commission bought from Xibei were made to different quality standards than its exported products.