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The expensive supplements could be getting swapped as part of a scheme.

June 12, 2017

Some people argue that purchasing pricey dietary supplements is a waste. That’s certainly true if, instead of expensive pills, the bottles are filled with nothing but pasta. To her surprise, that’s exactly what one Canadian woman found after spending over C$50 on capsules boasting “a synergistic combination of 23 natural ingredients.” And in an even more bizarre twist, when she went to return the pills, other identical bottles on the shelf were also filled with nothing but dry penne.

According to Toronto’s 680 News, Anna Bauer-Ross picked up the Green+ capsules from a local Toronto Shoppers Drug Mart. When her daughter opened the sealed container at home, they discovered the uncooked pasta and “thought it was a joke,” as she told the site. When Bauer-Ross returned to the store, she agreed to an exchange, provided she could open the new bottle in-store. Again, all she found was pasta. A store manager tried two more bottles and came across the same thing. “It’s strange, very strange,” Bauer-Ross, who eventually just accepted a refund, was quoted as saying. “Something you don’t think is going to happen under a sealed bottle from a reputable chain of stores.”

More than simply strange, the results sounded suspicious to Genuine Health, the product’s manufacturer, which claims someone was taking advantage of the store’s refund policy to essentially steal the pricey pills. “We are aware of a few isolated incidents at Shoppers Drug Mart stores in the [greater Toronto area] where our product has been replaced with dry pasta and returned for store refunds,” the company stated. “We have confirmed that the substitution is happening after the product has been packed, sealed and shipped from our facilities, and believe a local consumer is doing this for free product. We have no evidence that would suggest there is any risk to product safety or public health. We are working closely with Shoppers to find the culprit.”

Needless to say, trading C$50 worth of supplements for less than a buck’s worth of pasta is a lucrative, if illegal, swap. Meanwhile, for shoppers, beyond C$50 being way more than you’d want to pay for penne pasta at a fancy restaurant, let alone the grocery store, the tampering brings up a potential safety issue. What if something worse than penne had ended up in those bottles? For its part, Shoppers Drug Mart did not appear concerned. “We do not believe that there is any risk to our customers’ safety,” the company said. “We will be conducting a full investigation.”