Recall round-up: Steroid in sports supplement & unlawful coronavirus claims

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

Recall round-up: Steroid in supplement & coronavirus claims

Related tags coronavirus steroid CAFIA ANSES

As 2020 enters its final month, NutraIngredients, once again presents the monthly recall round-up, with food alerts involving a steroid-containing sports supplement and over 80 cases of firms misusing the coronavirus claims.
Brawn Nutrition TREN
Brawn Nutrition's dietary supplement, TREN. ©Brawn Nutrition

The Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority (CAFIA) has raised an issue with Brawn Nutrition’s dietary supplement ‘TREN,’ after laboratory tests detected an anabolic steroid.

The unauthorised substance 4,9-estradien-3,17-dion is also known under name Diendedion with lab analysis detecting 28,606 milligrams (mg) of this substance per kilogram (mg/kg).

“The product cannot be regarded as safe and CAFIA therefore ordered the seller to immediately withdraw it from distribution and inform its customers,”​ the authority states.

Obtained from the e-retailer ‘,’ the dietary supplement in question is available in bottles of 90 capsules with best before date, ‘Exp 01.22.’

CAFIA has notified the issue to the European Rapid Alert System RASFF and will serve a fine to the website’s owners, Prague-based PhSarms s.r.o.

Capitalising on coronavirus

Staying with CAFIA, the authority has highlighted over 80 cases of firms misusing the coronavirus pandemic to sell food supplements online.

Public concerns centred on sellers offering products using prohibited medical claims, including their benefits in response to the virus.

CAFIA said the second pandemic wave in September saw repeated attempts by some sellers to promote food supplements once again using unauthorised claims.

Examples include food supplements promoted on the website, ‘,’ where questionable claims or statements made include “cure and vaccine”, “prevention” and “…against viruses, parasites, moulds or bacterium.”

CAFIA also highlighted the website ‘’, which as part of marketing content for its supplements claimed that “Coronavirus and flu have very similar symptoms,” amongst other statements.

Inspectors have ordered the sites to withdraw the non-compliant claims and will initiate a fine to the owners.

Chewable Hair Vitamins

Finally, the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) says women who use oral contraception should not take the food supplement Chewable Hair Vitamins.

The recommendation comes as ANSES received two reports of acute hepatitis back in 2019, which the Agency thinks may be linked to the supplement’s consumption. In both cases, both women were using oral contraceptives.

In a statement, ANSES states the Chewable Hair Vitamins, marketed by HairBurst, may be involved in the effect seen when the product's many ingredients are combined.

Other suggestions include an interaction with other substances (particularly those contained in the oral contraceptives), or possible contamination or adulteration, i.e. the fraudulent addition of another substance.

“Vitamin A, one of the product’s ingredients has hepatotoxic effects, according to research, albeit under conditions that differ from those of the two consumers of the food supplement Chewable Hair Vitamins (i.e. far higher doses and/or over much longer periods of time),”​ concludes the Agency’s Expert Committee (CES) and Working Group.

“The product also contains other vitamins, minerals and numerous excipients.”

“If no single ingredient can explain the adverse effects observed, it is still possible that the adverse effect may be due to a complex effect of the combination of the product's many ingredients that also takes into account ​their inherent bioavailability due to the method of administering the product (chewing gum).

“Interactions with other substances (such as progestin) may also be involved. Contamination of the product or adulteration with a substance that was not screened for by the Joint Laboratories Service (SCL) cannot be ruled out.”

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