“The man from West London is suspected of supplying this highly toxic chemical which has been misused as a fat burning supplement and has been the cause of a number of recent deaths,” the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) said of the operation it conducted along with the Metropolitan Police and Ealing and Harrow local authorities.
Two properties were searched this morning and a “significant amount” of a substance believed to be DNP was found.
FSA’s head of food crime Andy Morling said in a statement: “It is illegal to sell DNP for human consumption as it is a dangerous industrial chemical. Last year, DNP was responsible for five deaths. I would like to thank all those involved in this operation that aimed to tackle the online sale of DNP.
“It is our close working partnership with local authorities, law enforcement agencies and internet companies in the UK and abroad that has enabled us to close these websites and work to disrupt possible supply chains.”
DNP is also known as:
The FSA’s National Food Crime Unit (NFCU) launched its investigation last April following the death of 21-year old Eloise Aimee Parry.
Parry, described as a "deeply troubled but highly intelligent" young woman, had been struggling with an eating disorder and died after taking DNP she bought online.
The FSA subsequently appealed for information on websites selling the substance and several websites were closed down.
Speaking at the young woman's inquest in July, investigating officer Detective Sergeant Andy Chatting reportedly said: "One site has closed down, but the caveat is sites close down [but] pop up in almost identical format hours later."
Last summer the FSA said it had closed 47 websites since 2012, five of which were overseas.
The International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) issued an imminent threat ‘Orange Notice’ on the “re-emergence” of DNP back in May.
Eloise Aimee Parry’s death, and an incident in which a French man was left seriously ill, sparked the INTERPOL-coordinated operation Operation Pangea VIII, which saw 20 million illicit medicinal products seized.
As part of this international collaboration between Canada, France, the UK, the US, INTERPOL and the private sector, two internet domain names selling DNP were shut down.
While DNP has legitimate uses as an industrial chemical, it is not fit for human consumption.
Speaking to media after Eloise Aimee Parry’s inquest, the victim's mother Fiona Parry said: “Eloise decided that even though she'd been told DNP was dangerous, being slimmer was worth the risk. She was convinced that the dangers were being exaggerated.
"She weighed the pros and cons and made a bad choice, it cost her her life."
In the FSA’s statement today, Andy Morling urged: “Please do not be persuaded by the claims being made, those selling DNP do not care about your wellbeing.”