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May 14, 2011

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Lethal drugs added to health foods

LOCAL health food producers illegally added drugs to their goods, leading to potentially fatal side effects among consumers, a watchdog said yesterday.

Among tainted products were health foods claimed to regulate blood sugar, a recent inspection by the Shanghai Commission of Consumers' Rights and Interests Protection discovered.

Some products, such as the Pujian Propolis capsule, added blood-sugar-reducing drugs illegally, tests revealed. Produced by the Xi'an Siqiang Group, the Pujian capsule was found to contain metformin, a chemical substance which lowers the glycaemic index. However, it is illegal to add metformin to health food.

"This is very dangerous," said Qiu Weiling, director of the commission's health products office. "Consumers complained that the capsule caused an extremely low glycaemic index and they had to be admitted to hospital as their lives were at risk."

The commission also found some health foods packaging misled consumers with claims the food could cure or prevent disease.

The Shanghai Food and Drug Administration will investigate and ordered the highlighted products to be removed from shelves.


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