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Safety First: Jamieson Fish Oil Supplements

Mar 10, 2010
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On March 2, 2010, FishOilSafety.com, a United States organization working in the public interest, released a statement unilaterally declaring: “Millions of people who take Fish Oil for health benefits have been kept in dark about the levels of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl) and other contaminants they may be swallowing along with the Omega-3s.” 

Since 2001, Jamieson Laboratories has been asking Health Canada to increase scrutiny of the nutritional claims of natural health products and to enforce stricter purity and safety testing of raw materials. As a manufacturer of premium natural health products, Jamieson Laboratories has long warned retailers and consumers alike that cheap products come with a hidden safety cost.

The following Q&A has been created by Jamieson Laboratories to reassure Canadians of the safety of our Omega-3 supplements.

Question: What are PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls)?

Answer: PCBs are human-made industrial chemicals that are now ubiquitous in the environment, which means that all living matter contains at least trace amounts. These compounds are known to cause cancer.

Q: Should Jamieson consumers be concerned?

A: No. Jamieson fish oils are micro-distilled, purified and rigourously checked for known chemical contaminants, such as PCBs and heavy metals. Our products are 100% safe for people of all ages. Jamieson has a strict, decades-long quality-control protocol that is the foundation of everything we do. 

In terms of purity, each Jamieson Omega-3 capsule contains a lower level of trace PCBs than the following common foods: a forkful of fish, half an ounce of whole milk, 4 teaspoons of water, half a large egg, a cube of cheddar cheese or one hot dog.

Q: Why has FishOilSafety.com released this information now?

A: Chris Manthey and Benson Chiles are environmentalists and the co-founders of FishOilSafety.com, which has been monitoring the safety of the fish oil industry for years. Yesterday, they held a press conference to announce a lawsuit against fish oil supplement manufacturers and retailers. According to a 20-year-old California law, known as Proposition 65, consumers must be warned if they are exposed to chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects. Manthey and Chiles want the fish-oil industry to get serious about keeping PCBs out of supplements. Six months prior to the lawsuit, they notified the companies that legal action was in the works if the quality of products was not improved.

Q: Which companies have been named in the lawsuit?

A: The lawsuit names eight companies: CVS Pharmacy, Inc.; General Nutrition Corp. (GNC); Now Health Group, Inc.; Omega Protein, Inc.; Pharmavite LLC (Nature Made brand); Rite Aid Corp.; Solgar, Inc.; and TwinLab Corp.

Q: What products have been identified in this lawsuit as hazardous?

A: FishOilSafety.com tested oils of cod, salmon and shark produced in a variety of formulas by the eight companies.

Q: What safeguards protect Jamieson product quality?

A: First and foremost, Jamieson never uses lesser-quality marine oils often found in cheap nutritional products. Every batch of the premium Omega-3 fish oil we use has been tested multiple times for contaminants before entering the production cycle. To ensure ongoing quality, the oil is purified and must pass more than 200 quality-control tests before microencapsulation. In addition, all products are subjected to more than 360 clinical purity tests at Jamieson Laboratories as part of our 360 Pure protocol. 

Q: Should I continue to take Jamieson Omega-3 fish oil products?

A: Absolutely. Our rigorous micro-distillation process ensures that Jamieson fish oil products are, in essence, PCB-free. We believe that the use of Omega-3 fish oils, whether dietary or supplemental, represent one part of a healthy lifestyle. Science supports the benefits of these essential fatty acids. According to research cited by Health Canada, a balanced ratio of adequate EPA and DHA per day helps: 

  • Support cognitive health and/or brain function (Haag 2003; Morris et al. 2003; IOM 2002)
  • Support the development of the brain, eyes and nerves in children and adolescents (Marszalek and Lodish 2005; Haag 2003; IOM 2002)
  • Maintain and support cardiovascular health (Oh 2005; Wang et al. 2004; Leaf et al. 2003; Kris-Etherton et al. 2002)
  • Reduce serum triglycerides/triacylglycerols (Oh 2005; Balk et al. 2004; Hooper et al. 2004; Nilsen et al. 2001; Sirtori et al. 1998), and
  • In conjunction with conventional therapy, reduce the pain of rheumatoid arthritis in adults (Volker et al. 2000; Sköldstam et al. 1992).

Jamieson Laboratories applauds any initiative that inspires optimal quality of natural health products. Until PCBs can be removed from the environment, they will continue to be present in our air, water, food and bodies. Our goal as a responsible manufacturer is to ensure that, to the best of scientific capability, we produce the safest, purest and most effective supplements to enhance human health. And that is our commitment.



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Hi, I would like to know the source of gelatin in Omega 3-6-9 which has a Lot 328672. Please reply quickest, as need to know if this product is halal/kosher. Thanks
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Hi there, thank you for writing. The gelatin in the Omega 3-6-9 is sourced from bovine. Thanks again
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Hi C, We use a couple different gelatin sources in the production of our Omega-3 capsules. Our Consumer Affairs team is able to trace product ingredients based on lot number. To find out the source of gelatin in a specific product, have the bottle handy and give them a call at 1-800-265-5088. Thanks!
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One of the ingredient of this Omega-3 Complex is GELATIN. Is this GELATIN extracts are form PORK?
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Hi Johana, Thanks for your reaching out to us about this! Certainly fish oil capsules should have a fishy scent that is mild to moderate. Of course the level to which this scent is strong will vary depending on your sensitivity. We would suggest using your judgement for this one. The product should smell like fish, but should not smell rancid. If you are concerned about your product or feel that it has spoiled, please call our Consumer Affairs department to discuss this. They can be reached at 1(800) 265-5088. Thanks again for writing!
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Hello, I've just bought Jamieson's wild salmon fish oil capsules, and while opening the recipient I got a very strong smell, it reminds me of the smell of fish dried in the sun or something similar. I'm concerned that the oil inside has gone rancid, since when this happens it's no longer healthy and could be even detrimental for the organism. I'm getting it in Europe, so maybe it wasn't transported correctly or some other issue, so, the question is: Are Jamieson's wild salmon fish oil capsules supposed to smell a lot like dry fish or is it a sign that it has gone bad? Thanks, Johana
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Hi Mike, Thanks for sharing. Vitamin E is added to our fish oil to prevent oxidation and maintain freshness of the fish oil. Using an ingredient such as lemon juice would not provide these elements needed for stability. All of our vitamins and supplements are reviewed and approved by Health Canada. Please note that any product where Vitamin E is the medicinal ingredient over 180 mg bears the warning to consult a health care practitioner prior to use if you have cancer. Our fish oil products contain trace amounts of Vitamin E, well below 180 mg. We always recommend talking to your health care provider before beginning any new supplement regime. If you have any further questions on this product or others, please feel free to contact our Consumer Affairs Department at 1-800-265-5088. Thanks for writing!
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Hi. Vitamin E is added to your capsules of fish oil. A recent study found that vitamin E supplements significantly increased the number of prostate cancer cases. Have you thought about removing the vitamin E - and, if you must use an antioxidant, using lemon juice instead? Here are two of many articles on vitamin E and prostate cancer: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1104493 Conclusion: Dietary supplementation with vitamin E significantly increased the risk of prostate cancer among healthy men. http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2011/10/11/vitamin-e-prostate-cancer... P.S.: 1. Just type "prostate cancer vitamin E" into a browser if you would like to see the hundreds of other articles. 2. The 2013 Annual Report on Prostate Diseases published by Harvard Medical School also cautions about taking Vitamin E.
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Hi, Experiencing a fishy repeat is normal when taking fish oil supplements and this does not necessarily mean the product has expired. Always read and follow the expiry date on the label. We guarantee the potency, safety and purity of each product until the expiry date listed on the label and do not recommend taking a product after it has expired. To help with the fishy repeat, we suggest taking your Omega-3 supplements with food. You can also try Omega-3 Super Krill with no fishy repeat. Here is more information on Omega-3 Super Krill: http://www.jamiesonvitamins.com/superkrill Thanks for writing!
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I have read in the Internet that fish oil supplements that have gone bad during the process will produce a fishy burp, is this true? I am taking Omega 3 1000 mg complete, and I sometimes get the fishy burp, they are not horrible but I am concerned that I will end up smelling like fish.
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Hi Ingrid,Thanks for writing! Fish oil capsules are manufactured according to the Natural Health Product Regulations. Potassium is not a nutritional component that is required to be tested for or labelled according to these regulations, which is why this information is not found on the product label. If you wish to understand a particular product further, our Consumer Affairs team would be glad to assist. Please have the product name handy and give them a call at 1-800-265-5088. Thanks again for writing!
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I am trying to find out if there is potassium in the fish oil liquid form . I know the flesh has plenty, but does the oil have it too ? Thanks for your help .
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Hi Stephen, Our fish oils are sourced near the Antarctic Ocean in Peru’s Southern Pacific fishing grounds. The fish oils themselves are extracted from carefully selected, small cold-water species. The oils are then purified before undergoing a proprietary molecular distillation process to remove all traces of organic pollutants and metals, thereby exceeding the industry's most stringent purity standards. You can learn more about the 360Pure process here: http://www.jamiesonvitamins.com/360-pure , or call our Consumer Affairs department for more info at (800) 265-5088. Thanks!
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Following the Fukishama nuclear accident in Japan 2 years ago, radiation (Cesium) is still be detected in fish stocks nearby .Where does Jamieson get it's fish, and is there any independent product testing that's done for radiation?
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Hi Ellie, Thanks for writing. Since Jamieson has been around for over 90 years, we have been able to invest in the technology needed to test our products in-house. We have the same (and in some cases more advanced) technology as used by third party organizations, and our testing results comply with the same Natural Health Products Directorate requirements. By conducting our testing in house, we also have the ability to carefully monitor the process and be sure that our products are clinically pure, potent,and above all 100% safe for our consumers and their families. We hope this helps address your concerns. If you have more questions or would like additional information, please don't hesitate to contact our Consumer Affairs Department at 1 (800) 265-5088 Thanks again for writing!
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Hi, I'm wondering why you don't submit your fish oil products for IFOS testing. As a holistic nutritionist I regularly tell my clients not to purchase fish oils that haven't undergone the rigorous testing of an interdependent third-party certifying body. I understand that you choose to do this testing in house with your 360Pure quality-assurance, but take my advice, in house testing just doesn't stack up against independent third-party testing. If you want the trust of health practitioners that have an understanding of what it takes to create high quality supplements, I highly suggest you consider independent third-party testing and let your products be scrutinized by someone that's not on your payroll. Ellie Steele Registered Holistic Nutritionist
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I have been taking fish supplements for almost a month and have noticed significant results. I suffer from depression, normally I exercise regularly which alleviates my symptoms. I noticed my brain functioning has improved quite a bit since taking fish oil and I am not depressed as much. I wish I knew about it sooner.
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Hi Dean, At this time, we do not offer a vegetarian softgel but we do offer an extensive line of products that are vegetarian. If you are looking for a vegetarian omega product, Organic Flax Liquid in Strawberry Banana flavour. If you are okay with fish oil, we would suggest Omega-3 with Vitamin D Liquid in Lemon-Meringue flavour. For more information about specific product ingredients, please feel free to contact our consumer affairs Department at consumeraffairs@jamiesonlabs.com For the full list of Jamieson's vegetarian products and their ingredients, please visit the vegetarian section of our website: http://jamiesonvitamins.com/product-list/16 Thanks for writing!
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Please can you confirm if your Omega3-6-9 is made from beef gelatin or pork gelatine. Is it possible to use a vegetable based gelatin so it can serve both Jews and Muslims, like they do in the UK and Europe.
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Hi Yusuf, Our Omega capsules are made from bovine or porcine gelatin. If you prefer a supplement that does not contain these ingredients, Jamieson offers two liquid omega products: Omega-3+ Vitamin D Lemon Meringue and our Strawberry Banana Organic Flax (vegetarian option). Thanks for writing!
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Hi I am very keen to trying fish oils for my joint health. I would just like to know about the source of the raw materials used for making the gel caps. This is just a general curiousity that I have with all gel cap supplements and I would greatly appreciate the reply. Thanks!
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Hi J, You can avoid fishy repeat by taking the Omega-3 products with a meal and by taking one capsule at a time. You could also take product with a digestive enzyme that would help the body break down the fish oil. Of course, you should always consult a Health Care Practitioner prior to taking any new natural health product. Thanks, Jamieson Consumer Affairs
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I am currently taking Jamieson daily vitamins & I wld like to start taking Omega 3 is there any fishy aftertaste in this product?
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Hi Stephanie, Thanks for your question. Jamieson has long been aware of contaminants associated with marine-sourced raw materials. Since introducing Omega-3 fish oil supplements, we have conformed to regulations set by Health Canada, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the World Health Organization concerning contaminants, including PCBs, heavy metals, pesticides and dioxins. Our raw materials are routinely tested for these compounds. During the manufacturing process, our soft-gel capsules are cold-pressed and, therefore, not subjected to heat processing. Testing methods used for all our other fish-oil supplements follow protocols set by the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency. The supplements are also reviewed extensively by Health Canada for safety, purity and potency claims. Our method 01.04.45 was developed based on the Voluntary Monograph, Council for Responsible Nutrition, March 2006, AOAC Official Methods of Analysis (991.39) European Pharmacopoeia 5th Edition, 2005 (2.4.29): “Composition of Fatty Acids in Oils Rich in Omega-3-Acids.” Quality assurance has long been a part of the tradition at Jamieson Laboratories. We have set a world standard for pharmaceutical purity and potency, and manufacturing integrity. We are proud to be the first Canadian producer in our category to receive Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certification. Jamieson’s proprietary quality-assurance protocol, 360 Pure, is the most rigorous in our industry, and it safeguards the health and well-being of our customers. Stephanie, we hope this helps answer your questions and thank you for taking the time to write. If you would like to read more you can click here http://jamiesonvitamins.com/node/835 to learn more about the purification of our Omega-3 products.
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Hi I take Jamieson fish supplements. I would like to know what the distilling process requires, eg is there a heating process and if so, how hot is the oil heated to or is it another process? Can you provide me with research that shows that the Omega 3 is still alright after the process? I hear that heat can damage the omega 3, so I am concerned that while the oil may no longer be contaminated, it is ineffective. How are contaminants taken out of the fish oil? Where are the fish caught and processed? Thanks for your help.

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