To Dump or Not to Dump: Bureau of No Standards…? #TissueGate #Jamaica

Much ado about contaminated toilet paper in Jamaica

This week Jamaicans are convulsed about substandard toilet paper on supermarket shelves that may have caused a rash of vaginal infections. The truth is we don’t know much. The Bureau of Standards claims to have found four brands that may be ‘contaminated’ but refuses to name them. Instead they are laboriously naming dozens of other loo paper that have alledgedly passed their tests. It leaves Jamaicans in a quandary. Should people like my friend Heather who invested in a case of toilet paper dump the lot because its not on the BOS list of safe tissues? Is it even safe to take a dump? The selection of tweets below, all dated today, will fill give some idea of the extent of the problem:


Dionne JacksonMiller @djmillerJA
Coming up at 5.30 – the toilet tissue issue @RJR94fm Beyond the Headlines

Deika Morrison @deikamorrison
Toilet paper with expiry date? Huh? #TissueIssue

@BigBlackBarry How yu can have a female PM silent when women in this country are being subjected to bacterial assaults on their vaginas?

Dionne JacksonMiller @djmillerJA
Next – a local manufacturer on the toilet tissue issue @RJR94fm Beyond the Headlines

YoGyLe @jahmekyagyal
Does the BSJ have lawyers? have said lawyers told them that truth is a defense? or is it that BSJ don’t trust their own tests?

Emma Lewis @Petchary
Does the Bureau of Standards test baby diapers too? Just wondering…

BigBlackBarry @BigBlackBarry
This bredda is a kratches….him need fi wipe up with tainted tissue

KimberlyRacquel @KRSeymour
The Bureau of Standards are a spineless set of BUREAUCRATS who refuse to protect the public out of fear. Shame on Dr. Davidson! #tissueissue

@Sarahjah: Tissuegate. Smh.

Julian Cresser @JulianCresser
@anniepaul Why aren’t they being fair? They have told us what is safe. They don’t need to name the unsafe ones.

May i recommend a ‘lota‘ to Jamaicans distressed by the #TissueIssue. As the Mighty Sparrow said to his would-be Dulaheen:” I’ll gladly trade my toilet paper for some water!”

File:Black Badna-Bodna BD.jpg

And beyond that perhaps we should consider whether this whole folderol is just a tissue of lies concocted by local toilet paper manufacturers to protect themselves against ‘foreign’ (read Chinese) imports of the sanitary product.

It was news to me to find out that this tissue issue had reared its head as far back as February this year albeit in a slightly different context. As a Gleaner article dated Feb 3, 2013, Shoddy imported tissue raises stink, has it:

Scores of Jamaicans are purchasing substandard toilet tissues and putting themselves at risk of serious health problems.

Sources in the health and manufacturing sectors last week confirmed that a large quantity of substandard toilet tissues is being imported into the island, mainly from Asia.

The Jamaica Customs Department also confirmed that there are indications that the quality of some of the tissues being imported from China is less than acceptable.

A Sunday Gleaner probe revealed that the three major local manufacturers of toilet tissues have been lobbying the Government for changes to the import regulatory framework.

The manufacturers have also dispatched complaints to the Customs Department about the inequality inherent in the system.

They have claimed that the labels on some of tissues from Asia are not written in English.

In addition, local regulation states that the minimum sheet count allowed in Jamaica is 300, while the sheet count of tissues from Asia is between 200 and 240.

In the meantime the Jamaican Bureau of Standards (BOS) is digging in its heels and refusing to divulge the names of the contaminated toilet tissue brands. According to this Radio Jamaica (RJR) report:

While the names of the four brands of toilet paper  have not been released, RJR news has learnt that one brand is imported from within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

Last week the Bureau of Standards said it was waiting for conclusive scientific tests to be done overseas, before revealing the brand of contaminated toilet paper.

However,  Professor Winston Davidson – the Chairman of the Bureau of Standards now says the names may not be released due to legal concerns.

He argues that the Bureau never asked the manufacturers of toilet paper to meet microbiological standards  – similar  to what is required for food imports.

Concerning reports that some supermarkets still had contaminated toilet paper on their shelves – Davidson admitted that this was true.

However, the Ministry of Health has stepped in and revealed that it will be removing the affected toilet paper brands from the public domain.

More as the situation unrolls…er…unravels…

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