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Dangerous Unapproved Injectable Tightening Gel Seized by Minnesota CBP

Release Date
Mon, 11/27/2023

MINNEAPOLIS– U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport recently stopped a shipment filled with 2,536 pre-filled syringes of vaginal tightening gel.


On November 20, CBP inspected a shipment arriving from Hong Kong manifested as “Vaginal Tightening Gel”. The shipment was found to contain commercial quantities of a gel inside injectables and required the user to wear chemical resistant gloves when handling. The packages containing the cosmetic gel were found in pink packaging appearing ready for resale.

In coordination with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the items were seized for violating the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The shipment was destined for a residential address in Woodbury, MN. Had these items been sold, the total domestic value would have been over $19,000.

Medications purchased from online sources can be improperly produced without pharmacological specifications and safeguards that ensure the protection of human health. Medications manufactured in non-regulated foreign companies often contain dangerous contaminants or ineffective compounds, and though their packaging and labelling can be like genuine products, inconsistent ingredients and sub-par quality controls can endanger the consumer.

“This dangerous shipment is another example of someone using unregulated gels to prey on unknowing consumers with false promises,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations-Chicago Field Office. “Not knowing what you are inserting in your body can be deadly, and consumers believe they are getting a discount, when in fact they are purchasing an inferior product with unapproved ingredients.”

The FDA protects the public health by working to secure the drug supply chain against counterfeit and unapproved medications that enter the United States through fraudulent sources. The FDA recommends that consumers talk to their health care professional who is able to identify appropriate therapies for patients and monitor for potential side effects and consider buying prescription medications from state-licensed pharmacies in the U.S. Additionally, only three percent of online pharmacies reviewed by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy are in compliance with U.S. pharmacy laws and practice standards, purchasing drugs online is risky not only for the consumer’s health, but also their wallet.

“CBP will continue to investigate and take action against counterfeit and misclassified goods that pose a threat to our economy and our citizens,” said Area Port Director-Minnesota, Augustine Moore. “We work closely with FDA and other partner government agencies to provide comprehensive border enforcement in support of national security.”

E-commerce trade soared during the pandemic, expanding foreign sellers’ market access to the United States. However, these sellers may not have all pertinent information to comply with U.S. admissibility laws, and drugs made in foreign facilities may lack necessary oversight and good manufacturing practices ensuring patient safety. Medications sold in the U.S. must conform to the FDA’s high standards, protecting consumers from dangerous irregularities in drug potency.

As the largest federal law enforcement agency in the United States, CBP has a vast, complex, and dynamic mission faced with constantly changing threats. By being continuously watchful and alert, CBP is dedicated to facilitating lawful trade and travel and protecting the homeland and its people.

Follow CBP on X @CBPChicago and @DFOChicago.

Last Modified: Jan 04, 2024