Supplement recalls: Polish, Czech and Hungarian authorities report cases of banned substances

iStock / eartzen

European authorities have notified the EU of several incidents of food supplements containing banned substances this week.

A food supplement was withdrawn from the market in the Czech Republic after inspections by Czech authorities found a supplement aimed at sexual appetite and function contained a banned substance.

The State Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority (CAFIA) said the batch of Maxxes food supplement, a food supplement containing a blend of botanical herbs, was found to contain the banned substance sildenafil.

Maxxes claims to: “increases the libido and confidence, while other properties of Maxxes boost the endurance for long lasting sexual activity and promote circulation to the reproductive organs resulting in a faster, harder and longer lasting erection.”

Sildenafil, the substance identified in Maxxes, is an active pharmaceutical ingredient (API), and is the main acting agent in Pfizer’s erectile dysfunction drug Viagra. Active pharmaceuticals like sildenafil are banned in food supplements.

“This drug is only allowed for use in medicines, and preparations containing sildenafil can only be given by the doctor due to possible side effects,” said the CAFIA.

Czech authorities immediately withdrew the Maxxes food supplement from sale and the distribution network. Proceedings have also begun to impose a fine.

During inspections, authorities also noted that the product had been distributed to other EU countries, as such as rapid alert has been put out via RASFF.

Poland and Hungary: Unauthorised novel ingredients

Meanwhile, in a second case Polish and Hungarian officials have notified that a foodstuff of special nutritional, imported from the USA and targeted at athletes, was also found to contain banned substances.

The Hungarian National Food Chain Safety Agency (NÉBIH) said it was notified of the incident via the Union's Rapid Alert System (RASFF) after the issue was initially discovered in Poland.

The product Cellucor C4 G4, Chrome Series, primarily intended for bodybuilders, is a multi-flavoured, special nutritional food. It is available in many EU countries – however Polish officials found that the Pink Lemonade flavour contains unauthorised ingredients in the form of creatinine nitrate and teak (a caffeine-like purinase alkaloid).

Both ingredients are classed as novel food ingredients, and are therefore unauthorised for sale within Europe, said the NÉBIH.

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