California Fish Oil Contamination Law Suit

In spite of accusations of fish oil contamination, Jason Phillips of the Nutrition Business Journal says that U.S. consumers spent $739 million on fish and animal oil supplements in 2008, making it the eighth most popular dietary supplement on Nutrition Business Journal’s list of the top 100 selling supplements in the United States.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Are not Only Beneficial but Essential for Health. But...

Omega 3 oils are necessary for good optimal health. The challenge is to find not only a supplement that provides a bio-available form of omega 3s, but also one that isn't contaminated with heavy metals and PCBs.

Eight dietary supplement manufacturers and marketers were named in a California lawsuit filed on March 2 that alleges some fish oil supplements have been sold containing illegally undisclosed and unnecessarily high levels of contamination with polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) compounds.

The eight companies named in the lawsuit are:

  • CVS Pharmacy Inc.
  • General Nutrition Corp. (GNC)
  • Now Health Group Inc.
  • Omega Protein Inc.
  • Pharmavite LLC
  • Rite Aid Corp.
  • Solgar Inc.
  • TwinLab Corp.

The lawsuit alleges that the companies sold fish oil, shark oil, fish liver oil and shark liver oil supplements that have PCB contamination above the so-called “safe harbor” limits set for human PCB consumption under California’s Proposition 65.

That law requires companies to warn consumers about contaminant exposures.

Proposition 65, passed as a ballot initiative in 1986, was passed to force consumer products to eliminate toxic chemical ingredients or reduce them below published safe harbor limits in the past.

Nutrition Business Journal, March 3rd, 2010

We do want to point out that this single test that has been done does not mean that these products really are contaminated. Further testing will have to be done before a final judgment should be made regarding fish oil contamination.

Fish Oil Contamination: Most of the world's oceans are heavily contaminated

We do know that most of the world's oceans are heavily contaminated and it only stands to reason that fish oils are contaminated too.

Fish have a special problem when it comes to heavy metals and contaminants. They don't have the biological systems to eliminate heavy metals. They are like vacuum cleaners with no way to get rid of the dirt.

The higher up the food chain you go, and the older the fish, the higher the concentrations of pesticides, heavy metals, and PCBs.

What does this mean for the marine omega 3 oil industry?

This presents special challenges to the fish oil industry. They have to not only separate the oil from the fish, but they have to eliminate the contaminants.

The processes that are usually used involve either heat, esters, or salt. Some processes use all three. Any of these tend to degrade the quality of the fragile omega 3 oils.

Those of you who regularly read articles on this site know that there are marine omega 3 oils available that are pure, free of heavy metals, and are in optimal bio-available form.

As you'll read in his review, the fact that krill are at the beginning of the food chain give oil derived from them an advantage over larger fish.

What about green lipped mussel oil?

We personally have been using Moxxor marine omega 3 oil for over a year now and have gotten wonderful results. The process used in making Moxxor uses temperatures no higher than 70 degrees Fahrenheit, a temperature that's even considered acceptable by raw food advocates. No salt or esters are used either. All this helps preserve Moxxor's potency and purity. The testing of the ingredients shows no contamination with either heavy metals or PCBs.