BANNED EPHEDRA FOUND
State Inspectors Crack Down
State inspectors are cracking down on stores still selling ephedra
products, banned by the federal government in early April.
The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has issued "stop-
sales orders" to more than 180 stores in Florida still stocking the
products, department spokesman Terence McElroy said.
In the Big Bend, records show the orders went to six convenience
stores - four in Marianna, one in Wewahitchka and one in Tallahassee.
Another went to BodyBuilding.com, a sports and fitness nutrition store
in Tallahassee's Lake Ella Plaza.
Ellik Hawkins, that shop's assistant manager, disputed the
department's order: "As far as we're concerned, there were no ephedra
products on our shelves."
McElroy couldn't comment on specific cases but said inspectors found
ephedra products statewide in late April and May, after the April 12
ban, during routine inspections.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced the ban last year on
products containing ephedra. In February, a medical examiner linked
the death of Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler to his use of an
ephedra supplement, according to reports.
Ephedra is a naturally occurring substance; its active ingredient is
ephedrine, claimed to aid in weight loss and heighten athletic
performance, according to reports.
But, according to the FDA's Web site, "the use of ephedrine ... is
associated with two to three times the risk of nausea, vomiting,
psychiatric symptoms such as anxiety and change in mood,
hyperactivity, and (heart) palpitations."