Live insect find prompts supplement recall

Matt Woodley

25/01/2024 2:48:10 PM

Tobacco beetles were found in two batches of dried herb powder promoted as a constipation reliever, the TGA has announced.

Tobacco beetle
Live tobacco beetles were recently found in two batches of a supplement aimed at relieving constipation.

Two batches of Henry Blooms Herb-a-lax 200 g dried herb powder have been recalled, after they were found to contain live tobacco beetles.
The insects, scientifically known as Lasioderma serricorne, are considered a pest in some parts of Australia, and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has advised anyone who thinks they consumed the affected product or has concerns to contact their GP.
‘In some cases, the presence of beetles and their waste products could lead to the inhalation of allergens, which might be a concern for individuals with specific allergies or respiratory issues,’ the regulator stated.
The product recall relates to only two batches of the supplement: 22108402 and 22108403.
Consumers have been advised to return impacted batches to the place of purchase for a refund, or they can alternatively call the Phytologic Holdings customer service line (02 9700 8850) to arrange the return and refund.
It is not the first time reports have emerged in Australia of animal contaminants being found in supplements. In 2019, researchers tested 135 complementary and alternative medicines and discovered that nearly half were contaminated with ‘unexplained pharmaceuticals’, animal DNA and potential allergens. 
DNA from rats, dogs, goats and pigs were all detected, while traces of frog and the Asian Highland Shrew were found in a ‘slimming’ and ‘detox’ tea.
At the time, researchers suggested contamination from commonly domesticated animals could be inadvertent and due to manufacturing deficiencies or transportation, but others, such as reindeer DNA in a supplement powder for ‘general wellbeing’ were more difficult to explain.
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