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Diet Danger

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The Food and Drug Administration declared it dangerous, so why are these diet pills still being sold in South Florida? Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero with the exclusive diet danger.

WSVN -- These green and white capsules are promoted as an all natural way to help purge the pounds, but take one and you could be swallowing a dose of trouble.

Cindy Venturin: "It was very scary."

Cindy Venturin says she ordered the Chinese diet supplement "Fruta Planta" online after a family friend claimed it helped her lose weight.

Cindy Venturin: "I wanted to lose around 30 pounds. I wanted to be super-skinny. She said that it would give you a lot of energy."

Instead, the 18 year old, says "Fruta Planta" gave her headaches, night sweats and most frightening chest pains.

Cindy Venturin: "It felt like my heart just wanted to burst out of me."

The Food and Drug Administration has received reports of health issues associated with the use of "Fruta Planta," including several heart problems, and in one case even death.

Cariny Nunez, FDA: "A young lady, with no known history of heart conditions, and she suffered a heart attack that cost her her life."

A U.S. distributor voluntarily recalled the product after the FDA issued a consumer warning in December "not to use Fruta Planta weight loss products."

Cariny Nunez: "Absolutely, we can say that Fruta Planta can be deadly."

Still, eight months after the warning 7 News found "Fruta Planta" still for sale in three markets in Miami-Dade County. Twice it was behind a counter, but at this store it was on a top shelf in plain view.

Carmel Cafiero: "There are warnings on the box, but this fine print is so fine, it can take a magnifying glass to be able to read it. And when you do, clearly, something is lost in translation."

Much of the box is in Chinese, but even the English portion doesn't clearly spell out the risk. "Take easily, specially the same day, never healthily safely," and "heart attack, attack, high blood pressure, and serious disease."

The FDA is investigating the ongoing availability of "Fruta Planta."

Cariny Nunez: "It is very disturbing, and we at the FDA, we are working very diligently on cracking down on all these distributors who are bringing this product from China."

When we talked to one South Florida store owner, he said he had no idea the product is dangerous.

Store Owner: "I never knew about it, I'm glad you showed me that. That's it, you will never see it here again."

But, with the product still available online the possibility is there for others to fall victim to this diet danger.

If you have experienced health problems after taking "Fruta Planta" or have seen the product on store shelves the FDA wants you to report it.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

U.S. Food and Drug AdministrationReport a Problemwww.FDA.gov/safety/reportaproblem

IF YOU HAVE A STORY FOR CARMEL TO INVESTIGATE:Miami-Dade: 305-627-CLUEBroward: 954-921-CLUE E-mail: clue@wsvn.com

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