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China was the source of 81 percent of all counterfeit products seized last year, according to government statistics.

The toothpaste was distributed by MS USA Trading of North Bergen, N.J., which announced it is recalling five-ounce tubes of Colgate because of possible contamination.

The company said the recall includes toothpaste branded as Regular, Gel, Triple and Herbal, adding that no illnesses had been reported.

“We do not make it, we don’t import it, we just buy it from a guy,” MS USA Trading manager Chris Kim told the Associated Press. A telephone message left for the source identified by Mr. Kim — a man he knows only as “Dialo” — was not immediately returned yesterday.

“Production of the product has been suspended while the company continues their investigation as to the source of the problem,” the company said, although the firm could not be reached for clarification of that statement.

Colgate said it is working with the FDA to help identify who is responsible for the counterfeit product.

Shares of Colgate-Palmolive fell 61 cents to $66.85 on the New York Stock Exchange yesterday.

Consumers suspecting they may have purchased counterfeit product can call Colgate toll-free at 800/468-6502.

MS USA Trading also said consumers with questions may call 201/869-0010.