Approximately thirty-eight boxes containing fake N95 masks destined for Jamaica were seized in the United States on Sunday, December 13.
US officials revealed the masks, which were labelled ‘made in the US’ bearing the 3M brand name, actually originated in Hong Kong.
According to customs officials, they became alarmed when the labels on the boxes didn’t match the shipping paperwork.
One of the custom officers noted that it was highly unusual for an American-made product to be sent to Jamaica via a freight forwarder in Hong Kong.
Upon further investigation, it was discovered that the masks were not authentic products, which Cincinnati Port Director, Richard Gillespie, said could be problematic, particularly as the products being imported are critical in the fight against COVID-19.
“Counterfeit masks like these are not tested using the same quality control standards as the genuine product, and it is unlikely they will perform in the same manner as the genuine product was designed to do,” said Gillespie.
Gillespie said that given the incident more rigorous checks will be made to prevent such counterfeit products from ending up in the hands of unsuspecting consumers.
N95 respirators are examples of personal protective equipment that are used to protect the wearer from airborne particles and from liquid contaminating the face.