"The principle is to replace costly substance by less costly substance at the expense of the consumer": CAFIA

Czech authority ‘constantly’ detects ‘serious’ adulteration in food supps

By Annie Harrison-Dunn contact

- Last updated on GMT

“Nearly eightfold lower content of the effective substance in capsules compared to the information on the food labelling were shown by a laboratory analysis of food supplements sold in shops as well as on the Internet," says The Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority (CAFIA).
“Nearly eightfold lower content of the effective substance in capsules compared to the information on the food labelling were shown by a laboratory analysis of food supplements sold in shops as well as on the Internet," says The Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority (CAFIA).

Related tags: Chondroitin sulfate, Food safety, Food industry

The Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority (CAFIA) says it, “repeatedly reveals serious forms of adulteration of food supplements” despite efforts through its Food Pillory system.

Commenting on a recent round of recalls that included green coffee bean tablets, 3-in-1 Joint Complex chondroitin sulphate and glucosamine chondroitin combination capsules, the authority said: “Nearly 8-fold lower content of the effective substance in capsules compared to the information on the food labelling were shown by a laboratory analysis of food supplements sold in shops as well as on the Internet.”

“Sellers and producers thus mislead consumers that get a product with significantly lower content of the effective substance than they legitimately expect.”

A spokesperson for CAFIA, Pavel Kopřiva, told NutraIngredients: “In general, all types of food supplements may be subject to adulteration, the principle is to replace costly substance by less costly substance at the expense of the consumer.”

While he said this issue was not necessarily particular to the Czech market, he did say that a consumer culture of misinformation and putting price over food quality and safety may play a role.  

A consumer culture

Kopřiva said: “Some Czech consumers - sociological data shows around 25% - resign on quality, and to some extent also on safety, of the foodstuff they buy, primarily due to the financial strains and lack of information.

“That is the reason why CAFIA along with the Czech Ministry of Agriculture established the Food Pillory project, where all consumers can find detailed information about dangerous, adulterate and poor quality foodstuff that CAFIA found on the Czech market.”

However the authority said that despite regular publishing on the Food Pillory, created two years ago, it still “repeatedly”​ reveals serious forms of adulteration of food supplements on the Czech market.

Supplement busts

The recent batch busts, which have now been recalled and will soon receive notice of the relevant fines, included green coffee bean tablets that contained eight times less caffeine than claimed on label, joint tablets of nearly half the chondroitin sulphate claimed and a glucosamine chondroitin combination for joints that contained just over two thirds of the claimed glucosamine sulphate and 30 mg less chondroitin sulphate.

Slevomat.cz. Company GMR Technology sold the green coffee bean, imported by Opava and Chinese company Xian Tianxingjian Natural Bio-products. CAFIA said it took the defective 3 in 1 Joint Complex lot from retailer Pavel Trampota, with documentation showing Prague-based Jiří Trampota was the supplier and Mega– Pro the producer. The glucosamine -chondroitin combination was taken from the same premise with the same supplier and producer. 

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