SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Women and men who have shopped for certain food items may be in for more than they bargained for. This week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) posted warning letters to four companies for illegally selling honey-based products that may pose a significant health risk to consumers.

The FDA’s laboratory testing found that product samples contained active drug ingredients not listed on the product labels, including the active drug ingredients found in Cialis and Viagra, which are FDA-approved drugs used to treat men with erectile dysfunction. 

The ingredients are restricted to use under the supervision of a licensed health care professional and may interact with nitrates found in some prescription drugs, such as nitroglycerin, and may lower blood pressure to dangerous levels. People with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart disease often take nitrates. 

“Tainted honey-based products like these are dangerous because consumers are likely unaware of the risks associated with the hidden prescription drug ingredients in these products and how they may interact with other drugs and supplements they may take,” said FDA Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs Judy McMeekin, Pharm.D., “Products marketed with unidentified ingredients may be dangerous and, in some cases, deadly to consumers. We encourage consumers to remain vigilant when shopping online or in stores to avoid purchasing products that put their health at risk, and instead seek effective, FDA-approved treatments.”

The warning letters outline how companies violated federal law by selling active drug ingredients in products marketed as foods, like honey, and by making unauthorized claims that their products treat disease or improve health. These products are promoted and sold for sexual enhancement on various websites and online marketplaces, and possibly in some retail stores. 

The letters were issued to:

The FDA previously warned consumers about more than 10 honey-based products containing hidden drug ingredients and also to avoid products with hidden drug ingredients sold through Amazon, eBay, Walmart and other retailers.

Anyone who thinks that a product might have caused a reaction or an illness, should immediately stop using the product and contact their health care provider. The FDA also encourages health care providers and consumers to report adverse reactions associated with FDA-regulated products to the agency using MedWatch or the Safety Reporting Portal.