Chinese Citizens Charged With Fraud for Allegedly Sneaking Dangerous Ingredients Into Dietary Supplements

Americans take dietary supplements to lose weight and improve athletic performance as well as their overall health. But federal regulators say a danger lurks in the industry: hidden ingredients made in Chinese labs that can cause injury and death.Dallas is already home to a $400 million fraud case involving supplements made by USPlabs. On Tuesday, five Chinese citizens and their companies were indicted in separate fraud cases for allegedly importing supplements tainted with the same illegal synthetic stimulant known as DMAA.The supplements the defendants shipped to Dallas earlier this year also contained a stimulant called 2-amino-6-methylheptane or DMHA, according to the indictments."DMAA, which is chemically similar to DMHA, has been linked to severe adverse events such as heart attacks and strokes," said the U.S. attorney's office in Dallas.The supplement industry has come under fire after reports of misbranding products and using dangerous ingredients, leading to a crackdown by federal law enforcement agencies. Federal authorities in 2015 announced enforcement actions against more than 100 supplement makers and marketers in 18 states. They said the USPlabs case highlights the extent of the problem. The defendants in the latest case are: Hu Chang Chun, 44, of Shanghai, China; Gao Mei Fang, 41, of Shanghai; Zhang Xiao Dong, 31, of Shanghai; Xu Jia Bao, 48, of Shanghai; and Li Ting Ting, 37, of Shanghai.The companies charged are Genabolix USA Inc., Shanghai Yongyi Bioltechnology Ltd., Shanghai Waseta International Trade Co. Ltd., and Max Pharmatech Inc.The charges include wire fraud, smuggling and introducing misbranded food into interstate commerce. "Few things are more important than ensuring the safety of what we put into our bodies," said U.S. Attorney John Parker for the Northern District of Texas. "Those who deliberately mislead us on this critical issue will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of our laws."The U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent warning letters in 2012 about DMAA to supplement retailers, including USPlabs, saying the synthetic ingredient was illegal and dangerous and didn't belong in their products.  Continue reading...

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