Weight-loss supplement sold online can be fatal

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Weight-loss supplement sold online can be fatal

The Korean government Monday said a dietary supplement made in the United States and sold on the Internet contains a compound that has been identified with severe side effects and has led to deaths. It warned the public not to purchase the product.

At least 10 people across the world consumed the product and died, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said in a press release.

The product was linked to deaths in several countries, including Britain, Ireland, Germany and Norway.

The product is called Arnold Iron Dream Concentrated Nighttime Recovery and it is made by MusclePharm and distributed by Prometeus. It contains the toxic fat burner 2,4-Dinitrophenol, which is not permitted in food, the ministry said.

The company says its product is safe and a counterfeit version is responsible for the deaths.

Also known as DNP, 2,4-Dinitrophenol was used in products boosting metabolism and promising weight-loss in the 1930s. It was banned in the U.S. in 1938, however, when consumers reported side effects, including irregular heartbeats, increased body temperatures and dehydration.

The ministry said the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment in Germany issued a warning against products containing DNP last month, stating that in worst cases they can be fatal.

The ministry has yet to find the product being sold in the domestic market. But considering the possibility that it could be sold online, the food authority requested help from the Korea Communications Commission and the Korea Customs Service.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]

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