SINGAPORE – Slimming product Mone Macha Cocoa, which comes in the form of a chewable tablet, has been found to contain a banned substance that increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Sibutramine, which was previously a prescription-only weight-loss medicine in Singapore, was banned in 2010 because of its adverse health effects, which could also include insomnia, hallucinations and the hearing of voices.
The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said on Wednesday (Oct 14) that the public should not purchase or consume Mone Macha Cocoa, adding that all sellers and suppliers must stop selling the product immediately.
According to HSA, a member of the public had reported that he experienced extreme thirst and rapid heartbeat after consuming the product.
Another consumer raised suspicions to the HSA that the product might contain potent ingredients after he saw its claims to “decrease fat absorption” and “increase fat metabolism”.
The HSA tested the product and detected sibutramine.
The product was sold on e-commerce platforms such as Carousell, Lazada, Shopee and Qoo10, and social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
The HSA has issued warnings to the sellers of Mone Macha Cocoa, and directed the respective website administrators to remove the affected listings.
Consumers are advised to stop taking these products immediately and to consult a doctor if they are feeling unwell or are concerned about their health.
The HSA said the public should be wary of health products that carry exaggerated claims.
“There is no quick and easy way to lose weight. Weight control should be achieved through a combination of balanced diet and appropriate exercise,” the authority added.
This is not the first time HSA has issued a warning about weight-loss products.
On Sept 12, the agency said that four slimming products sold on e-commerce sites and social media platforms were found to contain banned substances or laxatives.
Three of the products – Nutriline Thinsline, KiMiSo Dark Chocolate and Wholly Fitz Passion Lemon Tea – contained sibutramine – while the fourth, Nutriline Cleansline, contained the laxative sennoside.
Sellers and suppliers of products with banned and harmful ingredients will be prosecuted. If convicted, they may be jailed for up to two years or fined up to $10,000 or both.