NSW gets tough on dodgy diet seed

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 16th March 2011

The NSW Food Authority has continued its crackdown on dodgy diet foods, issuing fines to two Sydney-based companies for advertising food for sale claiming it had weight loss properties and providing advice that was of a medical nature in their advertising and information.

Both companies were advertising what is commonly known as ‘Latin Seed’ or ‘Slim Seed’,  Aleurites moluccana, which they described as a South American seed they claimed was able to reduce body weight.

These claims were investigated by the NSW Food Authority and were found to be in breach of the Food Standards Code.

In fact, Aleurites moluccana is commonly known as the candlenut or kukui nut, and is native to Pacific areas, east Asia and Queensland. The nut is toxic when raw, but is commonly used cooked for a variety of cuisines and for its oil.

Balanced Opinions Pty Ltd and Slim Seed Australia Pty Ltd were both found to be marketing the seed, and each was issued with two fines.

Balanced Opinions made claims on advertising material on the internet that the food was a slimming food or had weight reducing properties and was also found to be using words or statements that could be interpreted as advice of a medical nature.

Slim Seeds Australia was found to have made claims, found on printed advertising material found on the back of toilet stall doors in movie cinemas, of the product being a slimming food and for using the word ‘health’ in conjunction with the name of the food in its advertising.

In addition to fines totalling $1760, each company will now be listed on the NSW Food Authority’s Name and Shame register.

These are the latest in a number of food businesses claiming to have slimming or detox properties that been investigated by the NSW Food Authority.

The Authority said it will continue to monitor and investigate these and similar products so it can protect consumers and the legitimate weight loss industry.