GYMS across Darlington were visited by environmental health officers in a crackdown on dangerous and contaminated food supplements today.

Thirteen gyms were targeted in a bid to stamp out the sale and consumption of a dangerous chemical found in some body building food supplements.

The industrial chemical DNP (or 2,4 Dinitrophenol) has been found in products aimed at body builders and those hoping to lose weight, despite being considered unsafe for human consumption.

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The sale or supply of such products is an offence and the environmental health officers were at the gyms to issue a warning to that effect, after being alerted to the issue by the Food Standards Agency.

Councillor Chris McEwan, Darlington Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration said: “It is our responsibility as a food enforcement authority to warn the public and anyone supplying products containing this chemical, that it poses a potential risk to human health and must not be sold or consumed.

“Many people use the Internet to buy products that promise all kinds of health benefits such as weight loss and muscle gain.

"In addition, we are aware that many gyms supply food supplements aimed at the needs of their customers.

“We are working with the FSA to raise awareness of this issue and to ensure that the products being bought and used in Darlington are safe and legal.

"We urge all users of this type of product to carefully check the labels to see if this chemical is listed as an ingredient.”