Concerning food safety risk from NZ focuidan seaweed tonic

by | Sep 7, 2023 | News

New Zealand Food Safety is advising people not to consume a seaweed tonic being sold in a glass bottle labelled “NZ Focuidan” or an unlabelled bottle.

“The tonic presents a concerning food safety risk because it has not been through the required checks and balances to make sure it is safe to consume,” says New Zealand Food Safety’s Deputy Director-General Vincent Arbuckle.

“Because this product has not been registered under the Food Act, consumers cannot be certain that risks have been properly identified and managed.

“Seaweed can contain chemical hazards such as inorganic arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury.

“NZ Focuidan is made with seaweed, which can be high in iodine. Without proper controls, treatments and dosage information, iodine can be dangerous, particularly to those with thyroid conditions.

“The product also makes concerning prohibited therapeutic claims and consumers should not be led by these claims,” Mr Arbuckle says.

“If you have bought this product – which is either labelled ‘NZ Focuidan’ or has limited or no identifying labelling or branding – do not consume it and throw it out.”

“Available evidence suggests the seaweed tonic has been available for sale through informal sellers and local markets.”

New Zealand Food Safety is working to ensure this product is removed from sale.

For more information and food safety advice, refer to the New Zealand Food Safety webpage.

If you have any concerns about these products, please call MPI’s consumer helpline on 0800 008 333.

There have been no reports of associated illness to date.

If you have consumed this product and have any health concerns, please seek medical advice. Contact your health professional, call Healthline on 0800 611 116 or call the National Poisons Centre on 0800 764 766.

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