HEALTH

Fish oil supplements have chemical contamination, lawsuit claims

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN FRANCISCO Three parties joined Tuesday in filing a lawsuit in California regarding omega-3 supplements allegedly contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyl.

“Consumers who want the health benefits of fish oil shouldn’t also have to take the health risks of an extremely toxic man-made chemical,” stated David Roe, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs. The lawsuit names eight makers and sellers of fish oil, shark oil, fish liver oil and shark liver oil supplements that have PCB contamination above the safe harbor limits set for human PCB consumption under California’s Proposition 65. That law requires consumers to be warned about such exposures.

“Pharmavite’s] fish oil products comply with all federal laws prescribed by the United States Food and Drug Administration and individual state laws including California Proposition 65, as well as European Commission standards,” Pharmavite, one of the named defendants, noted in response to the suit. Pharmavite also noted its fish oil products were in compliance with the Council for Responsible Nutrition’s voluntary monograph for omega-3 fatty acids and has been recognized by the United States Pharmacopeia Verification Program for omega-3 fish oil purity, potency and quality.

In addition to Pharmavite, the initial defendants named, in alphabetical order, include: CVS/pharmacy, GNC, Now Health Group, Omega Protein, Rite Aid, Solgar and Twinlab Corp.

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NFL coach to pitch Extenze

BY DSN STAFF

MONROVIA, Calif. —Can two-time Super Bowl coach Jimmy Johnson do for the supplement male enhancement category what Bob Dole did for Viagra?

That’s exactly what Biotab Nutraceuticals and its agency InterQuantum are hoping—legitimizing a supplement category that often provides the punch line for late night comics. The company signed Johnson in January to represent its Extenze male enhancement product. Biotab plans to pitch the pitchman pretty heavily to American consumers throughout the year with an overall marketing budget of $70 million.

With Extenze now sold at retail, the product scored No. 1 in sales in the mineral supplement category at mass retailers for the last quarter of 2009, InterQuantum added, citing InfoScan Reviews. Mineral supplement sales currently are up 3% to $544.5 million for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 26 across food, drug and mass outlets, according to Nielsen Group data.

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P&G to discuss Metamucil brand in webisode

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI Procter & Gamble will begin emphasizing the point of difference of its Metamucil fiber supplement brand beginning March 1 with a new television commercial and webisode.

Metamucil is the one of the only fiber supplement brands made with psyllium fiber, which gels to help remove waste and reduce cholesterol.

New packaging will also debut this summer that will emphasize Metamucil as a “Multi-Health Fiber,” calling attention to some of the lesser-known health benefits of Metamucil, such as its its cholesterol lowering benefit.

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