Bayer to change selenium health claims after threat of lawsuit

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Prostate cancer, Nutrition, Selenium

Bayer Healthcare says it will change the health claims used on its One A Day vitamins following threats of a lawsuit claiming its prostate cancer health claims were misleading.

Last month, consumer advocacy Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) notified Bayer that it would sue the company unless it stopped claiming that its vitamins for men could reduce prostate cancer due to their selenium content.

“Bayer currently is in the process of revising the packaging and promotional materials for its One-A-Day Men's and One-A-Day Men's 50+ to exclude reference to the qualified health claim regarding the relationship between selenium intake to the reduced risk of certain cancers,”​ the company told NutraIngredients-USA.com.

Bayer also said its product formulation will remain unchanged.

Advertisements and labels for Bayer’s One A Day Men’s 50+ Advantage and One A Day Men’s Health Formula multivitamins had claimed that “emerging research”​ suggests selenium may reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

CSPI maintained that such claims are deceptive and are not backed by sufficient science. As well as threatening to sue the company, CSPI also filed complaints with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). These urged the agencies to put a stop to the claims and to seize existing stocks of the products.

However, the dietary supplement trade group Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) took a strong stand against CSPI’s allegations, saying they were “fear-mongering”.

Steve Mister, president and CEO of CRN said that rather than calling for the seizure of products that cause no health risk to consumers, CSPI should focus its efforts on helping to reign in the “outliers in this industry”.

“It would be nice to see CSPI join CRN in calling for FDA resources to be directed to these kinds of egregious behaviors where there really is the potential for health risks to consumers.”

Selenium received another battering of late, after FDA approved the use of a prostate cancer qualified health claim to be used on products containing over 14 micrograms of selenium.

However, the highly qualified nature of the claim renders it almost unusable to industry. It states:

“Selenium may reduce the risk of certain cancers. Some scientific evidence suggests that consumption of selenium may reduce the risk of certain forms of cancer. However, FDA has determined that this evidence is limited and not conclusive.”

To read more on that and other new selenium claim approvals, click here​ .

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