Japanese health ministry officials are launching a series of measures to prevent further health scares after the problems caused by dieting aids imported from China, the Asahi Shimbun reports.
Among the measures are an import crackdown and random sampling of ingredients, according to officials. Import controls will be made tighter and officials are to make random purchases of diet products via the Internet to screen their ingredients.
The report noted that buying diet supplements from abroad has not previously involved certification by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare for limited dosages (a maximum two-month supply) and for personal use. However officials said that this will change so that businesses are prevented from importing unapproved diet products under the guise of individual shipments.
The ministry also intends to warn individuals about diet products that are considered potential health hazards.
The ministry measures follow reports earlier this summer of illness and three deaths among people who had taken certain diet supplements imported from China. Some of these contained fenfluramine, a chemical banned in supplements in the US.
Meetings among government departments that deal with medical products and health foods and supplements will be organised to plan further ways of addressing the potential risks from imported diet aids, said the report.