An apparent stash of a potentially-deadly chemical used in extreme dieting has been seized in Scotland.
Food Standards Scotland (FSS) said its food crime unit has recovered “a quantity” of powder believed to be the highly-toxic substance DNP.
DNP - also known as 2,4-dinitrophenol - is an industrial chemical mainly used as a pesticide that has become popular with some people who want to lose weight rapidly, such as bodybuilders and those with eating disorders, FSS said.
It is usually sold online in tablet or capsule form, although it is illegal to do so for human consumption. The possession of DNP for legitimate industrial purposes is allowed.
DNP is poisonous and can lead to severe health problems and even death.
Symptoms can include fever, vomiting, rapid breathing and blindness while long-term use may cause damage to the heart and nervous system.
The food standards body said sales of DNP have been increasing in recent years and that the chemical has contributed to a “significant” number of deaths, as well as instances of serious harm to health, in the UK.
The FSS is not revealing at this stage how much of the chemical was recovered in Scotland, where or on what date it was seized.
Its enquiries are continuing and the body’s Scottish food crime & incidents unit is appealing for information on the sale of the chemical.
Unit head Ron McNaughton said: “The dangers of DNP have been well documented over recent years but people need to be aware that it can have serious consequences and even kill them.
“It’s vital that no-one puts themselves at risk by taking DNP.
“If you suspect you’ve been sold a product containing DNP or have any information about it being sold for weight loss, then please do not take it. Report it to our hotline on 0800 028 7926.”