The Australian Self Medication Industry says that fish oil products are highly regulated in Australia and Australian consumers can be confident that fish oil products contain the ingredients listed on the label.
This was in response to a New Zealand study, which evaluated the quality and content of fish oil supplements on sale in New Zealand, and found that many didn’t contain quantities of fish oil that were equal or higher than the labelled content.
“It’s important to note that this was a New Zealand, not an Australian study,” Steve Scarff, ASMI Director of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs, says.
Two recent studies of fish oil products available in Australia, one conducted by the CSIRO, found close agreement between the ingredients listed on the label of the products they tested and the actual composition of those products.
“The composition of fish oil products is regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and they are required to contain at least 90% of the declared label content,” says Scarff.
“Companies that market fish oil products in Australia must comply with the TGA requirements.
“The Australian regulations for complementary medicines are some of the toughest in the world and the TGA undertakes routine testing to monitor compliance,” he says.
Blackmores has also responded to media coverage of the New Zealand study.
The company highlighted some flaws in the study, including that supplements were bought from a single store and the authors did not investigate any potential storage issues; that no brands were named, so results could not be compared to other tests on the same batch; and that there were questions about the test methodology that was applied and whether it was validated.