herald

Sunday 22 October 2017

Vitamin is taken off the shelves

Multi-vitamin Centrum has been withdrawn from Irish shelves because consumers were not informed of a possible link to genetically modified ingredients.

Centrum is partly made using soybean oil, and the label did not point out that the ingredient may have come from genetically modified (GM) soybeans from America. Drug manufacturer Pfizer said Centrum would not be on the market until the end of the month, while it rectified the problem.

A spokesperson told the Herald: "At the beginning of September, Pfizer began a voluntary withdrawal of Centrum food supplements from retail shelves in the European region.

"In Ireland, the majority of supplements were off the shelf within a 72-hour period and have not been available for sale here for over three weeks." Pfizer has insisted that the product was withdrawn a few weeks ago because of a "labelling issue and not a safety issue".



Blend

The spokesperson explained: "The stearic acid used in these products is manufactured using a blend of soybean and palm oil. The material in the formulations was originally qualified as a non-GMO ingredient. However, we learned that the soybean oil may be derived from genetically modified soybeans grown in the United States."

Pfizer has refused to reveal how many bottles of Centrum were taken from the shop shelves, but it has admitted that its product should have been more clearly labelled.

"As a result of this use of GMO soybean oil, the finished products should have a GMO statement on the label," the spokesperson said. Pfizer said it was currently manufacturing completely GM-free Centrum.

"We anticipate product shipments will resume towards the end of October," the spokesperson added. "We would repeat that there is no safety issue with the Centrum range of products. This voluntary action ensures consumers can't access incorrectly labelled product."

hnews@herald.ie

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