Diet aids taken off shelves over failure to meet licensing rules

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 April, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 April, 2000, 12:00am

Eight dietary supplements have been recalled after the Consumer Council found they claimed to cure liver disease, diabetes and hypertension. Drugs that make such claims require licensing.

The Department of Health ordered the recall but has not disclosed the brand names involved.

'The manufacturers and importers were very co-operative, and as far as I know all the products have been withdrawn,' a department spokesman said.

He said four products needed new labels and four others had to register with the Pharmacy and Poisons Board, but all were safe to consume.

Under the Undesirable Medical Advertisement Ordinance, non-pharmaceutical products may not claim to cure certain serious diseases, while pharmaceutical products must be registered.

The supplements claim to enhance health and beauty by detoxifying the body.

The Consumer Council originally focused on the level of heavy metals - lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic - the supplements contained following tests in Macau which found excessive heavy metal levels in some of the products.

Some of the local versions of the supplements were also found to contain lead and arsenic but at safe levels.

The council said the tests did not address the issue of the effectiveness of the products, but doctors have advised people wishing to detoxify their bodies to drink more water, eat more fruit and vegetables, and exercise regularly.