U.S. Getting Unlabeled Chinese Fish Oil

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Oct. 10 (UPI) — Chinese imports account for a fifth of the U.S. fish oil market, but consumers wouldn’t know it, a newspaper’s investigation found.

An investigation by The Kansas City Star found that importers evade labeling rules, and U.S. authorities let them.


One in five American adults now takes fish oil. It is the No. 3 dietary supplement and a nearly $1 billion annual business.

Chinese fish oil has not been implicated in major recalls or health scandals, and a spokesman for Beijing said it is of good quality, the newspaper reported

But Leo Hepner, an international consultant on food and dietary supplement ingredients, told the Star that if he knew some fish oil capsules were manufactured in China, “I would prefer to buy something else.”

U.S. Food and Drug Administration rules say supplement labels should include “a truthful representation of geographical origin.”

But enforcement of import labeling is up to U.S. Customs and Border Control, which has been letting the importers get around the law. Importers assert that just bottling the capsules in the United States “transforms” them into a U.S. product, so they don’t have to be labeled as imports, the newspaper reported.

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Categorized | Fish, Other
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