Hoodia supplements found not to contain hoodia

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Californian authorities have issued an injunction against a supplements manufacturer in the state for marketing a hoodia gordonii extract-based appetite suppressant, after testing revealed it in fact contained no hoodia.

Ten Californian district attorney offices joined forces to bring an action against Breakthrough Engineered Nutrition, which led to the Solano County Superior Court issuing the injunction to cease sale of the product. It also prevents the company from selling any product claiming to contain hoodia.

About 10 lots of DEX L-10 were tested at the bequest of the district attorney offices under the University of Mississippi’s respected programme.

Breakthrough Engineered challenged the findings and said it was working with the district attorneys to resolve the matter. The company was unavailable for comment by the time of publication.

Civil penalties, restitution for people who bought the products and an order to prevent them from selling the allegedly mislabelled products again, are sought in the order. It is possible that each sale could incur a penalty of $2500.

The lawyer representing the district attorney’s office said the company replied, “so sue us”​ when informed of the University of Mississippi results.

Hoodia gordonii​ is a small cactus that grows in the Kalahari desert and is believed to act as a "satiety stimulator"​. Phytopharm gained a global license to market it in 1997.

Its flesh has been eaten by the San people of the Kalahari desert for centuries to suppress appetite and research has isolated a molecule within the plant, given the name P 57, that appears to possess appetite suppression properties.

It received a boost in 2004 when Unilever sighed a multi-million dollar deal with a UK start-up, Phytopharm, to develop weight loss products incorporating hoodia.. But Unilever withdrew from the deal in early 2009 citing concerns over safety and efficacy.

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