Supplements seized: UK and Dutch authorities capture DNP and steroid supplements

By Emma Jane Cash

- Last updated on GMT

Supplements seized: UK and Dutch authorities capture DNP and steroid supplements
Food safety agencies in the UK have seized large quantities of DNP following a multi-agency effort, while Dutch authorities captured anabolic-androgenic steroids intended for use in sports nutrition supplements.

Despite being illegal for human consumption, the 2,4 dinitrophenol (DNP), remains on sale online and in some gyms. Commonly used as a diet aid, DNP has severe side effects and has been responsible for eight deaths in the UK since 2015.

The seizure, which took place in Cumbria, was a result of intelligence from the UK's National Food Crime Unit (NFCU) of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and was aided by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), as well as two local police forces.

Searches were also conducted in Gateshead, Hebburn and Wigton. Along with the large quantities of the banned substance, associated machinery and tablet presses were also found at the property in Cumbria.

The FSA say enquiries are on-going.

DNP can kill

Although DNP can be safely and legally used in biochemical research and in the manufacture of chemicals, it is illegal for human consumption. Due to it’s alleged fat burning properties, however, the drug is still commonly sold online and at gyms, in the forms of capsules or powder.

“DNP can and does kill. We are relentless in pursuing those seeking to profit from the illegal sale of this toxic substances for human consumption,” ​said Heather Hancock, FSA chairman.

“This operation succeeded because of the close working partnership between the National Food Crime Unit and local authorities, law enforcement agencies and internet companies in the UK and abroad. We have been able to disrupt supply routes and close down websites. That stops people being put at risk from the severe harm that comes from consuming DNP”.

Earlier this year the first conviction for the illegal sale of DNP for human consumption was made in the UK

Among the dangerous side-effects ​DNP can cause are nausea, vomiting, sweating, dizziness, headache and loss of weight, as well as increased basal metabolic rates. Chronic exposure can also result in the formations of cataracts and skin lesions, effecting the bone marrow, central nervous system and cardiovascular system. 

Steroids in the Netherlands

Meanwhile, three suspects were detained earlier this week for the illegal sale of anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) in the Netherlands, said the NVWA (Dutch Food and Safety Authority).

Two business premises, a garage and three homes in the areas Tilburg and Bergen op Zoom were searched following intelligence from the Information and Detection service of the NVWA.

A large quantity of anabolic steroids were found, as well as other medicines, believed to be intended to be sold for profit.

The suspects are believed to have sold the prohibited steroids in a sports nutrition and supplements shop, without having trade permits for it.

In the Netherlands, anabolic steroids are only available through a doctor’s prescription due to their severe side effects including liver damage, kidney damage and heart muscle thickening.

Sicily warning

in addition to raids in the Netherlands and UK, the European Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) has reported an incident where a patient has been left in intensive care after taking dietary supplements.

The supplements, named Desmodium, are believed to have contained traces of three psychoactive substances, mefedrone, catinone and norephedrine. They were purchased online from the company.

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