Omega-3 suppliers' leaders have hailed test results issued by ConsumerLab.com, which showed 50 products containing fish oil to be contaminant-free, as a vindication of steps taken by the industry to clean up its act.
ConsumerLab.com said testing of the omega-3 fish oil supplements, foods and beverages found all to have safe levels of mercury, lead and PCBs.
Omega-3 fatty acids in the products ranged from only 16 mg to over 1,000mg per serving. But all contained their claimed amounts of EPA and DHA without signs of spoilage.
The Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s said ConsumerLab.com's findings highlighted the success the organisation, and its predecessor the Omega-3 Working Group of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, had had in its efforts to improve quality in the industry.
"When the industry came together in 2001 to establish what is now the GOED Voluntary Monograph, their efforts and the widespread adoption of these minimum quality standards directly led to the success of these recent tests," said Adam Ismail, executive director of GOED.
Experts had attributed the positive results to advances in refining techniques such as the introduction of molecular distillation, activated carbon and other new processing steps into Omega 3 oil refining, he said, adding: "The industry's adoption of the Voluntary Monograph has encouraged the integration of these new technologies."
William Obermeyer, ConsumerLab.com's vice president of research, said contaminants were unlikely to be found in properly made fish oil products because: "The species of fish used to make oil supplements are typically smaller and not as likely to accumulate toxins, and the oils are distilled, which removes contaminants."
The full report is available at: http://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/Omega3_Fatty_Acids_EPA_and_DHA_from_Fish_Marine_Oils/omega3/ (subscription required).