News item

Warning issued over illegal 'fat burner' chemical

A bottle containing yellow capsules of DNP for human consumptionThe Trading Standards Institute (TSI) are urging traders and consumers to be vigilant when buying food supplements that claim to burn fat. The supplement has been reported to have been linked to a number of deaths connected after consumption of supplements containing 2,4 Dinitrophenol (DNP), which is an industrial chemical.

Although unfit for human consumption and cannot be sold legally as a food, these products can be bought online, particularly from outside the EU and have been found being sold under the counter in some gyms. Local authorities have been called upon by the Food Standards Agency to inspect premises that may be supplying DNP and to detain any product suspected of containing the substance.

The public is urged to come forward with any information regarding the sale of these products, which may be labelled as 'DNP', or they may use other claims such as containing '100% caffeine', 'burns fat' or 'boosts muscle growth'.  Products containing DNP will be primarily aimed at body builders but also at those who wish to lose weight. 

According to the FSA, signs of acute poisoning could include fever, dehydration, nausea, vomiting, restlessness, flushed skin, sweating, dizziness, headaches, rapid respiration and rapid or irregular heart-beat, possibly leading to coma and death, depending on the amount consumed. Consuming lower amounts over longer periods could lead to cataracts and skin lesions and affect the heart, blood and nervous system.

Andy Foster, TSI's Operations and Policy Director said: "This chemical is not designed for human consumption, and it is harrowing to think that some people may be taking the supplement as part of a weight loss plan when in fact it could kill them.

"Sadly, there have been a number of deaths reported to have been linked to the use of DNP and we are urging all gym owners and food supplement stores to check their product labelling and to think again about supplying imported supplements that may contain DNP; they are playing Russian roulette with people's lives."

Rod Ainsworth, FSA director, said: ‘It’s really important that people understand quite how dangerous DNP is. We have been working hard to raise awareness of the dangers of DNP and to encourage people to let us know if they are sold products containing this chemical. If people are offered DNP they should not take it and should instead contact the FSA or their trading standards service.’

ENDS

Notes for Editors:

For further information or to arrange an interview please contact Joe Blamey at TSI press office on 0845 608 9575 or pressoffice@tsi.org.uk

Trading Standards Institute (TSI)

TSI is a training and membership organisation that has represented the interests of the Trading Standards profession since 1881 nationally and internationally.  We aim to raise the profile of the profession while working towards fairer, better informed and safer consumer and business communities.

TSI’s members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services in local authorities and in businesses.  
www.tradingstandards.gov.uk 

Food Standards Agency (FSA)

The Food Standards Agency is responsible for food safety and food hygiene across the UK. We work with local authorities to enforce food safety regulations and have staff who work in UK meat plants to check that the requirements of the regulations are being met. We also commission research related to food safety.
Anyone with information about the illegal sale of DNP should report this to: FoodIncidents@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk

DATE: 05 September 2013