By Erik Crouch
Image via Superkimbo
More than a million Chinese-made ‘Be Safe’ condoms were impounded in Ghana after it was found that many contained holes, burst easily, were too small, and had inadequate lubrication. In other words, ‘Be Safe’ condoms are the worst thing to happen to contraception since Shanghai’s dumpster-side dispensers.
The problemed prophylactics were traced back to a latex company in Henan, which also supplies condoms to the Chinese market. According to its website, “Henan Xibei Latex Co., Ltd. is regular condom supplier of China Family Planning and professional in global tender.” Seems legit.
The condoms have been wreaking havoc in Ghana’s public health sector, as The Guardian reports:
The FDA is recalling all Be Safe condoms on the market, and said it does not yet know how many have already been distributed. It is standard practice to conduct safety tests on condoms, many of which are imported from China. […]
“This is a huge, huge problem,” said Faustina Fynn-Nyame, director of Marie Stopes International in Ghana. “There will be a lot of unintended pregnancies as a result of this, and that means maternal mortality and unsafe abortion. Commercial sex workers also use these products [so] the consequences could be enormous.”
The companies involved in importing the condoms were not available to comment. But Be Safe condoms are reported to be widely used in Ghana, where they are distributed by state-run health centres. Previous batches are understood to have passed safety tests.
Ghanian authorities are scrambling to get the “Be Safe” condoms out of use as soon as possible. All of this is really surprising; after all, the Xibei Latex Co.’s website does specifically say that “Each pc of condoms is tested by electonical equipment” and “Xibei takes quality as living basis.”
Since posting this article we have received an email from the BeSafe corporation, stating that the faulty condoms sold in Ghana are Chinese counterfeits of their products. Wouldn’t be too surprising. The conspiracy deepens:
Dear Sir or Madam,
We are producer of BeSafe® condoms and till today we have not sold/send any condoms to Ghana. We have realized that fake condoms in the name of Be Safe have been imported to Ghana. Those fake Condoms are not related to our Besafe corporation Limited and we would very much appreciate it if you kindly explain that.
As you can imagine, we take great pride in the high quality of our condoms which are manufactured to exceptionally high standards and rigorously tested. In fact, our manufacturing process is identical to the one used by the worlds leading manufacturer of condoms. We also only use the highest quality latex at BeSafe and have done so since 2007. All of our products meet the requirements of ISO 4047:2002 (Performance Requirements, Design Requirements, Packaging Requirements and Compliance Testing) In addition, all of our products are manufactured to ISO 9001:2008 quality standard and have been awarded the CE mark that confirms our condoms can prevent disease (Medical Devices Directive 93/42/EEC CE 0120). It is clearly unfair that our brand comes under question by those who misused BeSafe (Be Safe) name.
Our new condoms are ready to launch. We have two types of condoms already available and every four months a new type will be introduced. We will also be producing Sun cream and Hand sanitizer as well as surgical gloves and examination gloves for the health care industry.
We really need you help to explain the mix up to our customers.
Again than you for your kind help