POSTED: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 - 2:37pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 - 5:13pm
BATON ROUGE, La (NBC33) — It could be lights out for a snack sold to help people fall asleep. That's if the manufacturer doesn't change up the ingredients.
They may taste like mom's brownies, but there's an ingredient in these baked goodies that the FDA says, shouldn't be there.
"They've taken a dietary supplement and marketed it as a food product," says Mike Cox, owner of Xtreme Nutrition. He's an expert on dietary supplements.
You may recall, earlier this year we told you about Lazy Cakes, a brownie laced with melatonin. That's the hormone in your body that makes you fall asleep.
"It has great health benefits," says Cox. "But it is not intended for everyone and not all people should be taking it."
The FDA sent the manufacturer of the brownies, now called Lazy Larry, a letter. In it, they say "Melatonin is not approved for use in any food, including brownies."
"It can have interactions with birth control, with anti-depressents. It can interact with high blood pressure and glucose tolerance," says Cox.
Experts say the problem stems from the way the manufacturer, HBB LLC, has manufactured marketed the calming cakes.
"The supplemental food industry and the food industry need to be separated," Cox explains. "Anyone that's trying to blur the line is riding a slippery slope."
Right now, Lazy Larry is marketed as a conventional food item for adults. The label mentions that it's a dietary supplement, but it's overall appearance and ingredients clearly show that it is a food.
Experts say that the colorful marketing campaign could land the brownies in the wrong hands. "You think this is something that is fun. It's going to be tasty, and it's something I want to do, so kids would be very attracted to that," says Beth Reames, a nutrition professor at LSU. "It could be dangerous, especially for children."
The FDA gave the HBB LLC time to change the recipe or their marketing campaign. They have the right to seize those brownies if the violation isn't corrected.
HBB LLC has addressed the issue with the FDA on Facebook. Wednesday, the company posted a statement saying they are working to resolve the problem quickly. The manufacturer says the product is still safe and completely legal to eat.