A spokesperson for the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) told us the agency had first been alerted to the Holland and Barrett-branded product by a consumer who noticed it did not carry a registration under the EU Traditional Herbal Medicinal Product Directive (THMPD).
The agency investigated the product, which turned out to also be mislabelled regarding its botanical contents.
“The pictures on the product do not match the labelling description and appears to show Goldenseal root (Hydrastis canadensis) and not Golden root (Rhodiola rosea),” the agency said.
“The botanical name on the product Berberis aquifolium is also incorrect.”
“There are concerns that this product may not be suitable for use in children and adolescents and may cause unwanted side effects.”
Holland and Barrett was not available for comment but told the agency it is removing the product from its stores. However an internet scan showed a product with the same name – Echinacea & Golden Root for Juniors – but under a different brand, remained on-sale on a website called Puritan’s Pride.
The MHRA spokesperson said while an initial scan of Holland and Barrett revealed there was no widespread problem among its range, its stature in the market meant, “it should know better than to carry even one product like this. They are after all one of the biggest chains on the high street.”
He said it was the first time a Holland and Barrett product had fallen foul of the MHRA since the THMPD kicked into life in April last year.
“This highlights the importance of products being registered under the THMPD.”
“Parents need to remember that just because a product is labelled as natural does not mean it is safe,” said Richard Woodfield, MHRA head of herbal policy.
“When buying herbal products you should look for those that have a traditional herbal registration which can be identified by a THR number on their label. This ensures that the product is safe and avoids consumers putting their health in jeopardy.”
“Anyone that has this herbal product at home should stop using it immediately and return any unused product to Holland and Barrett.”