Posted November 1, 2013

Protein Shakes Containing Prescription Drug Pose Serious Health Risk

On November 1, 2013, Health Canada warned consumers that Vega One Vanilla Chai (sizes 437g and 874g) and Vega Sport Performance Chocolate nutritional shakes, by Sequel Naturals Ltd., have been found to contain the prescription antibiotic chloramphenicol. These products are sold in Canada but also available to U.S. consumers through online retailers.

Because of risks associated with its use, chloramphenicol should only be taken under medical supervision. This antibiotic is associated with an increased risk of a rare but serious, and potentially fatal blood disorder called aplastic anemia; this reaction cannot be predicted and can occur even with small doses. Chloramphenicol can also affect bone marrow, leading to decreased blood cells. It should not be taken by pregnant or lactating women, or those with a known sensitivity to the drug.

Consumers who have purchased Vega One Vanilla Chai and Vega Sport Performance Chocolate nutritional shakes should not consume them; those who have should immediately consult their healthcare provider.

Sequel Naturals' own testing confirmed the presence of chloramphenicol in Vega One Vanilla Chai and Vega Sport Performance Chocolate nutritional shakes, but the company has not issued a recall, as requested by Health Canada. The company has issued several other recalls this year of its nutrition shakes and bar products due to other contamination and allergen issues.

[Update: On November 6, 2013, Sequel Naturals Ltd. issued a voluntary recall of Vega One Vanilla Chai, Vega Sport Performance Chocolate, Vega Sport Performance Vanilla, Vega One Nutritional Shake Berry, Vega One Nutritional Shake French Vanilla and Vega One Starter Kit Multipack. The company was supplied an enzyme preparation from Specialty Enzymes & Biotechnologies that may have been contaminated with chloramphenicol and has been implicated in a number of other recent recalls, including a Metagenics Enzyme supplement and Aveeda Nutritionals Prebiotic and Digestive Enzyme supplement.]

(See ConsumerLab.com's Review of Protein Powders and Drinks for tests of related products.)

See Related Warnings:

Metagenics Enzyme Supplement Recalled Due To Drug Risk

Prebiotic and Digestive Enzyme Supplement Recalled Due To Drug Risk

Protein And Nutrition Bars Recalled Due To Undeclared Milk Allergen

Nutrition Bars Recalled Due To Undeclared Milk Allergen

Nutrition Drink Recalled Due To Bacterial Contamination

To read Health Canada's warning to consumers, use the link below.