Belgian authorities recall fat-burner supplement

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

©iStock/USN
©iStock/USN

Related tags: USN, European union, fat burner, Phedra

Belgium’s Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) is recalling a popular fat-burning supplement over concerns about the product’s caffeine content.

Bottles of the product, Phedra Cut Lipo XT Fat Burner (60 tablets) are to be taken off the shelves of the distributor, Charleroi -based sports equipment shop Intersport Gosselies.

“The company has decided in consultation with the FASFC to remove the following product from the sale and recall it from the consumer,”​ FASFC recall notice​ states.

“The company asks its customers not to consume the product and to return it to the point of sale where it will be reimbursed.”

The affected supplement, made by the UK’s Ultimate Sports Nutrition (USN), contains the expiry date (02/2021) and the period in which the product was sold to customers (24/08/19 to 4/09/19).

In its notification, FASFC adds that consumers can contact the Agency on the number +32 (0)800 13550.

Labelling issue identified

Shedding further light on the recall, a spokesperson for Belgium’s Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC), identified issues with the product’s labelling.

“In Belgium, the English label is not relevant. Labels on the Belgian market must be in Dutch and/or French,”​ the spokesperson says.

“As a French-speaking consumer in Belgium, it should be sufficient to read only the French label and this does not clearly show that a daily dose is 200mg of caffeine.”

FASFC’s spokesperson also states the product has not been notified by the Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment.

They point out that before marketing food supplements and fortified foods, a notification file needs to be submitted to this authority.

Other labelling issues focus on a lack of any warning on the label instructing users not to consume this product and other caffeinated foods/beverages at the same time.

The spokesperson also reiterates that the official additive (dyes) names should be used, not the synonyms listed in European ordinance 231/2012.

“The Food Agency monitors the safety of the food chain and the quality of our food in order to protect the consumer and that is what has been done here.”

Advertising woes

The recall is not the first time the product has landed in hot water with authorities. In August, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled​ that claims made about the green tea extract contained in the supplement were “misleading and unsubstantiated”.

Specifically, the issue was whether USN could use claims currently ‘on hold’ by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA), who were still unable to confirm the assessment criteria for such claims.

USN stated that EFSA were considering two possible ways to assess such claims, either through scientific evidence or through the historical use of the botanical’s traditional use.

They added that until a decision was made over the assessment of such claims, they could continue to be used.

USN believed that meant that traditional history of use data might be accepted rather than or in addition to randomised controlled trials.

Despite the firm’s objections, ASA upheld the ruling adding, “The evidence was not adequate to substantiate the advertising claims, and the advertising claims did not in any case relate to the same plant parts and/or did not have the same conditions of use as the referenced ‘on hold’ claims.”​

“We concluded the claims “Green Tea - Containing Phytofare, a green tea catechin complex, to support your … fat oxidation” and “Thermogenic - Green Tea itself inhibits an enzyme involved in the thermogenesis of body fat,” breached the Code.”​ 

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