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2 October 2013, 17:34
Fitness fanatics in County Durham are being warned about potentially dangerous food supplements which claim to burn body fat.
Certain types of the products, which are mainly marketed at bodybuilders and those wishing to lose weight quickly, have been found to contain a harmful industrial chemical known as 2,4 Dinitrophenol, or DNP.
The food supplements are most commonly sold on the internet and can be in tablet, capsule or powder form.
People are being warned that products containing DNP can have extremely serious short and long-term health effects.
Durham County Council's Food Safety Team has already sent out advisory information to independent gyms, leisure and health facilities in County Durham and will be carrying out visits to premises from next Monday to raise awareness about the dangers of using these products.
It follows a national alert from the Food Standards Agency about food supplements containing DNP.
Joanne Waller, head of environment, health and consumer protection at Durham County Council, said:
"People need to be aware that some food supplements, which are particularly targeted towards bodybuilders and people trying to lose weight and which claim to help burn excess fat, have been found to contain unlawful and dangerous ingredients.
These products are most commonly sold on the internet and people are warned that DNP can have very serious health implications and is not suitable for human consumption.
We are visiting independent gyms and leisure centres to try to get the message across directly to the people who are most likely to be affected."
People are advised not to buy or take any product which contains 2,4 Dinitrophenol, or DNP, and to seek immediate medical advice if they believe they may have taken it.