‘We are in full compliance’: Sued omega-3 suppliers

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Omega protein, Omega-3 fatty acid

Texan omega-3 supplier Omega Protein Corporation says its offerings meet international regulatory requirements, including the strict contaminants rules set out in California’s Proposition 65.

A legal case names Omega Protein and seven other omega-3 supplements brands and retailers for breaching limits for polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) established under Proposition 65 and demands $2500 be paid to each person exposed to the PCB-containing products.

“The Company's products are in full compliance with all federal laws promulgated by the US Food and Drug Administration, standards of the European Commission and the labeling requirements of California's Proposition 65,”​ Omega Protein said.

“In addition, the company's products meet the rigorous standards for quality promulgated by both the Center for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) and the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3's (GOED).”

It added: “The Company has worked cooperatively with the groups behind the lawsuit in California for the past several months, sharing information and answering any questions that arose. There are many issues on which Omega Protein disagrees with the plaintiffs, including methods of measuring PCBs, the level of PCBs at which a warning would be required, testing protocols, and applicable industry standards. Omega Protein takes very seriously its obligations to meet regulatory requirements and consumer expectations for safe and effective products.”

The action, brought by the Mateel Environmental Justice Foundation and two New Jersey residents, also cites three products manufactured by Illinois-based Now Foods.

“Proposition 65 often applies to very small levels of chemicals – levels that in some cases are much lower than those permitted by other laws,”​ Now said, noting it took the action very seriously.

“This lawsuit was not filed by the state of California or any governmental authority but was filed by private plaintiffs.”

Although not named in the action, Krill leader Neptune Technologies & Bioressources said its offerings also met Proposition 65 requirements that were based on labeling not safety considerations.

"We regularly have the purity of NKO rigorously tested at independent accredited laboratories for all potential contaminants including PCBs, dioxins, pesticides and heavy metals, among others,”​ said Dr Tina Sampalis, chief science officer at Neptune.

Daniel Fabricant, PhD, vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs at the Natural Products Association (NPA) said it was unfortunate the plaintiff was commenting on pending litigation.

“Maybe they don't feel strong about the science they have behind them in this case. It’s attorneys trying to win a case, nothing more, nothing less, it should have no bearing on the millions who take fish oil and benefit from it daily.”

Others named in the action are General Nutrition Corp, Pharmavite, Solgar, TwinLab Corp, Rite Aid, and CVS Caremark.

The action can be found here.

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