Food Standards Agency (UK)

Press Release

Operation Atlas 

21st December 2021

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) welcomes today’s sentencing of a man who unlawfully sold DNP for human consumption.

Mr Jack Finney has been sentenced at Chester Crown Court today for suppling 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP), a highly toxic industrial chemical which he illegally sold as a diet pill for weight loss. 

Mr Finney will now serve 28 months in prison after products were found containing DNP at an address in Northwich during an investigation by the FSA’s NFCU and supported by Cheshire Police, UK Border Force, West Midlands Cyber Crime, the United States Food and Drugs Administration and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.

The defendant had been selling this lethal substance to people across Europe and America on the dark web between June 2017 and July 2020.

DNP is poisonous to humans and can cause death, as well as other serious physical side effects. The life threatening substance DNP is often marketed as a slimming or weight loss aid and has sadly resulted in 33 deaths across the UK to date.

Reginald Bevan, Deputy Head of the National Food Crime Unit said:

“We welcome today’s sentencing as it sends a strong message to anyone seeking to profit from the illegal sale of this life threatening substance. We continue to be relentless in pursuing and bringing to justice those who are endangering the public and breaking the law.

This operation continues to demonstrate how seriously the NFCU takes the illegal sale of DNP for human consumption in the UK and through our close working partnership with local authorities and other law enforcement agencies in the UK and abroad that we are able to tackle offenders, close websites and work to disrupt possible supply routes within and into the UK.” 

“Selling dangerous unapproved drugs, disguised as dietary supplements, can cause serious harm to those who buy and use the drugs,” said U.S. Food and Drug Administration Assistant Commissioner for Criminal Investigations Catherine A. Hermsen. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to bring to justice those who jeopardize the public’s health.”

As DNP is an industrial chemical, there is no safe dosage and it is not made to be consumed as a diet supplement, which are often claims made by those selling the substance. 

The outcome of the case comes as the Home Office last week launched a consultation on proposed amendments of control measures for sales of explosives precursors and poisons under the Poisons Act 1972, which the FSA is supporting. 

The consultation is aimed at businesses who supply chemicals and chemical products, online marketplaces who facilitate the supply of chemicals and chemical products through their marketplaces and members of the public who use certain chemicals and chemical products in their hobbies in England, Scotland and Wales.

The FSA continues to call for anyone who has information on those selling DNP for human consumption to contact the National Food Crime Unit at [email protected] or call Food Crime Confidential on 0207 276 8787.” 


Background Information 

The FSA’s National Food Crime Unit (NFCU) proactively targets those found to be selling DNP to UK consumers. The unit monitors the internet to identify websites that are marketing DNP for human consumption, and the people behind them. Where such people are identified within the UK, we will work with partners to execute search warrants, seize DNP and prosecute those involved. 

The NFCU works with other UK law enforcement partners, such as the Border Force, and international agencies to identify those selling DNP. The unit has also launched campaigns to warn the public of the dangers of DNP and continues to highlight the dangers of consuming this toxic chemical.