Several diet and 'detox' have been pulled from supermarket shelves after they were found to contain pharmacy-only medicine it has been announced.
Following an investigation by Consumer NZ, a number of teas were found to contain Senna, a source of sennosides which are used to treat constipation.
According to Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin, companies require consent from Medsafe to sell or advertise products that contain Senna and none of the companies did.
The teas removed from sales included three Healtheries teas: Healtheries Naturally Slim Lemon Tea, Healtheries Naturally Slim Superfruit Acai and Blueberry Tea and Healtheries Herbalax Senna Peppermint Tea along with Senna Klenz, a detox tea advertised by influencer and personal trainer Sera Lilly.
Chetwin said it was worrying that companies weren't aware of the rules as Senna can lead to liver damage if taken for long amounts of time.
"These types of products make various claims about weight loss or 'detoxing' but they can be little more than laxatives in disguise," Chetwin said in a press release.
"There's no good evidence these products provide any benefits and they could even do you harm."
Adding, "You don't need to buy a pricey tea to 'detox'. Your body is already primed to get rid of toxins by itself."
Following the announcement, Sera Lilly took to Instagram to share your devastation at the news.
"I am obviously devastated and super upset to have to share this news," she wrote on Instagram.
"We have just been made aware that because our 'Tea-Tox' contains Senna leaf it should be a pharmacy-only product.
"Even though our Cleanse Teatox is not Senna-based, the regulations are that no matter what level of Senna lead is used in a natural health product, the product must be sold only by a pharmacy."
She stressed that Senna leaf was "by far the smallest component" of their Tea-Tox, with each cup containing less than one-third of the daily recommended level.
Diet and 'detox' teas have been quite a hot topic of late. It's been a popular product of choice for influencers to advertise to their followers, which in turn has sparked immense backlash from those worried they are promoting potentially dangerous and irresponsible products that exacerbate the pressure put on, in particular, women to be 'thin'.
Actress and body positivity campaigner Jameela Jamil has long called out celebrities and influencers for promoting detox teas and appetite suppressing products.
Last year Jameela called out Khloe Kardashian for promoting Flat Tummy shakes, telling her she was irresponsible for implying the product was responsible for how she achieved her weight loss when in fact it was highly likely she had her own nutritionist, personal trainer and even surgeon that helped her achieve her "aesthetic".
She added it was irresponsible of Khloe to not disclose the side effects, which included cramping, stomach pains, diarrhoea and dehydration.
Jameela also previously called out Kim Kardashian along with a slew of other celebrities who endorse diet and detox teas and in February 2019 made a petition to stop celebrity endorsement of "pseudo science detox/diet products that can be harmful to your health, and can encourage disordered eating".
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