A huge shipment of illegally produced sub-standard condoms has been intercepted by authorities in Italy. The seizure triggered an investigation which has resulted in a worldwide task force busting a large-scale Chinese operation based out of Guangdong. 3 million counterfeit contraceptives have been destroyed, along with two large machines used in their production.
“We don’t know where the rubber comes from. Produced in underground factories, such condoms, with fragile rubber and poor flexibility, may lead to accidental pregnancies and bacterial infections. We found consumers were unaware of how to distinguish these condoms,” a Chinese doctor told the Guangdong-based newspaper The Time Weekly.
China produces more than 10 billion condoms every single year. That accounts for over 25% of the world’s total, apparently. And as with any production process in the country, ruthless gangsters were quick to hit upon of the idea of producing cheap inferior version of the product. Just as they do with electronics and clothing. In the case of the condoms, they would often bulk buy expired condoms which needed to be destroyed and apply a dangerous oil-based lubricant to them and repackage them.
Despite the subject matter, the seizure is no laughing matter. Zhang Wenliang, a high-ranking policeman in charge of the case said this to the Shanghai-based news website xinmin.cn, “The seized condoms were tested by the local food and drug administration and it was discovered that they contained heavy metals and posed a serious risk to human health.”