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.
If you have any concerns about these products, call MPI’s consumer helpline on 0800 00 83 33.
There have been no reports of associated illness to date.
If you have consumed this product and have any health concerns, seek medical advice. Contact your health professional, call healthline on 0800 61 11 16 or call the National Poisons Centre on 0800 76 47 66.