Some popular weight-loss products sold through online cafes and social media sites have been found to contain E.coli and iron filings. Authorities have also uncovered websites that make false claims regarding the effects of their products, in helping to fight obesity or improve liver function.
This barley leaf powder sold on a social media site claims to be effective in helping to lose weight. But it has been found to contain E.coli. In some barley powder products, E.coli was found to exceed 500 times the permissible amount. Two of the inspected products contained iron filings, and another product contained excessive amounts of tar.
[Soundbite] KIM JUNG-EUN(CUSTOMER) : "I thought it was a weight-loss product. I bought it online. Someone I know complained of a severe stomachache after taking this product."
Three protein supplement products were found to state exaggerated amounts of protein on their labels. One lemon balm water product contained high levels of bacteria. Authorities have also caught more than 1,900 websites that exaggerated or falsely advertised regular food products as being effective in helping to lose weight. They included protein supplements advertised on social media by famous TV personalities.
[Soundbite] SHIN YONG-JOO(MIN. OF FOOD AND DRUG SAFETY) : "We requested the Korea Communications Standards Commission to block some of the shopping malls. We also requested Naver and other portals directly to follow suit."
Barley leaf powder products, which are not recognized as health supplements, were advertised as being effective in treating hyperlipidemia and inflammation. This year alone, authorities have uncovered more than 200 substandard food products sold on social media.