Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield has issued an official warning about a coffee product being sold in New Zealand, saying tests indicate it could contain a class C controlled drug.
Medsafe published a privileged statement by Bloomfield today, in which he warned consumers to be wary of Elevacity coffee.
"This statement is issued as an alert to warn consumers of the dangers of consuming a product marketed for weight loss, weight management or to improve mood, under the branding Elevacity Elevate Smart Coffee (Version 3) (powder in a tub)," the statement said.
"The product has been tested by Medsafe and found to contain phenethylamine, a controlled drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975."
Phenethylamine, sometimes known as PEA, is a stimulant in the amphetamine family. It occurs in the human body in very small amounts, as well as in some foods like wine and chocolate.
It causes a very short rush of dopamine to be released in the consumer, which gives a general sense of stimulation and wellbeing.
Medsafe has confirmed that PEA is classified in New Zealand as a class C controlled drug when it occurs in unnatural quantities.
"Consumers should not consume the product and should return it to the supplier or dispose of it safely.
"Elevacity Elevate Smart Coffee (Version 3) has been sold for weight loss / weight management and is claimed to improve mood and focus."
Medsafe confirmed in November last year that the agency was investigating Elevacity coffee after being alerted to the issue by 1 NEWS.
1 NEWS has followed the issue of so-called 'diet', 'happy' or 'smart' coffee products being sold in New Zealand since last year and this is the second warning Medsafe has given about such a product.
The first was Valentus Slimroast coffee, which was found to contain a class C controlled drug, as well as a prescription medicine.
1 NEWS has seen evidence that these and similar coffee products have been sold extensively in New Zealand through off-shore multi-level marketing operations.
The most recent of these was Lurralife 'LurraFit' coffee, which also may contain similar substances, according to its ingredient list.