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Leiner Health Products Inc. Release: Fish Oil Supplements Safer Than Fish As Source Of Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acid


10/19/2005 5:08:59 PM

CARSON, Calif., July 13 /PRNewswire/ -- While science continues to confirm many health benefits of consuming omega-3 fatty acids derived from fish, recent reports suggest both fish and fish oil supplements contain high levels of contaminants that may be harmful to humans. To assure consumers that fish oil supplements are toxin free and a safe way to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and other health risks, Leiner Health Products commissioned the University of Southern California (USC) School of Pharmacy to test the purity of fish oil supplements it makes for America's top retailers. The findings, documented in a study entitled "Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in dietary fish oil supplements: a comparison of EPA and ELISA methods," will be presented at the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting, Las Vegas Convention Center, July 14, 8:30 AM -12:00 PM.

Using analytical procedures approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Association of Analytical Communities (AOAC) methods (an internationally-recognized organization dedicated to validating testing methods), USC analyzed 18 random lots of store brand fish oil supplements made by Leiner for America's top retailers. These blinded tests detected no PCBs, dioxins or heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury or arsenic in any of the samples. Included in the USC study were samples previously tested using the less stable ELISA method, which erroneously reported the samples contained toxic substances. USC's research concluded all Leiner fish oil supplements were virtually contaminant free and can provide a safe source of omega-3 fatty acids.

"Using EPA's most rigorous method, we conducted blind tests of commercially available fish oil supplements manufactured by Leiner Health Products for top retailers. This is a complex, confirmed method of analysis that has been used by EPA for many years. Our findings should assure consumers they can take these supplements without the concern of PCBs or other contaminants frequently detected in fish," remarked Dr. Roger Clemens, Director of Analytical Research & Services, USC School of Pharmacy.

To clarify some reports which wrongly suggest that some fish oil supplements do not provide the level of fatty acids indicated on product labels, USC also tested Leiner fish oil samples for potency. Using another complex analytical technique called GCMS (gas chromatograph/mass spectrometry), the analytical chemists found the fatty acid profile of the Leiner samples to be 100% compliant with label claims for EPA and DHA fatty acid levels.

All fish oil used in Leiner fish oil supplements undergoes a process called molecular distillation. This process virtually eliminates contaminants such as PCBs, dioxins, and heavy metals to below detectable levels. Like a water purification process, molecular distillation traps nearly all contaminants in the fish oil, resulting in a "cleaner" product.

While it is impossible to remove 100% of all impurities, Leiner fish oil processed using molecular distillation exceeds purity standards set by California's Proposition 65 requirements and the EPA requirements, which are much more rigorous than those of FDA. Leiner also requires all of its fish oil suppliers to use wild fish caught in deep water rather than farm-raised salmon which may contain contaminants.

Dr. Clemens, who directed the study, will be available for news interviews upon request. Clemens has more than 25 years of experience in the food industry and academe, including 40 peer-reviewed publications and 70 invited medical lectures domestically and internationally. He is an active leader and Fellow in the Institute of Food Technologists, American College of Nutrition and American Society for Nutritional Sciences.

About Leiner Health

Founded in 1973, Leiner Health Products, headquartered in Carson, Calif., is America's largest manufacturer of store brand vitamins, minerals, supplements and diet aids. The company also is the fastest growing store brand manufacturer of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. Selling products exclusively to its retailers, Leiner provides nearly 40 food, drug, and mass and club merchants with over 3,000 products to create extraordinary store brands at bargain prices. It also is the largest supplier of vitamins, minerals and supplements to the US military. Leiner markets its own brand of vitamins under YourLife(R) and sells over the counter drugs under the Pharmacist's Formula(R) name. Last year, Leiner produced 27 billion doses offering consumers high quality, affordable choices to improve their health and wellness.

Leiner Health Products

CONTACT: Crystal Wright, Vice President, Public Relations, of LeinerHealth Products, +1-202-291-8481



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