Fri, Jun 01, 2018 - Page 4 News List

FDA lists spurious online food, dietary supplements

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday launched a Web site listing dubious food and dietary supplements sold via e-commerce or social media platforms registered overseas, urging people to be cautious as it cannot regulate or fine these sites.

The Web site — — is designed to expose problematic products, the agency said.

As of Wednesday, 17 problematic products found between January and April were listed on the Web site, including several tea and coffee products touting therapeutic or fat-burning effects, an egg product that claims to enlarge the breasts, and dietary supplements and beauty products that could rejuvenate the eyes or skin.

Exaggerated or improper phrases used in the advertisements included “warms up and protects the kidneys and cures colds” for a foot bath powder, “eliminates edema, benefits the bladder, and reduces blood sugar, blood pressure and blood lipid” for a type of tea product, and “stabilizes plasma membranes of the eye lens and increases antioxidant activity” for a dietary supplement.

Food Safety Division official Hsu Chao-kai (許朝凱) said that the advertisements on these Web sites often lack information, such as the company address and owner.

Moreover, Web site administrators can easily take down a site whenever a consumer dispute occurs, which makes them similar to Internet scams, Hsu said.

People can maintain a balanced diet by eating right and should not fall prey to food or dietary supplements touting magical or therapeutic effects, he said.

If they feel ill, they should seek medical attention at accredited clinics or hospitals, he added.

The agency urged consumers to carefully read package labels when purchasing food, dietary supplements, drugs, and beauty and cosmetic products, and seek professional advice when they have questions about a product’s claims.

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