Omega-3 businesses have been warned about making immunity claims during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, nutraingredients.com reported on 24 March.

The Global Organisation for EPA and DHA (GOED) had sent out a warning to the industry that a general “immunity” claim on a product could be considered an implied claim about COVID-19 given the current situation, the report said.

There was an insufficient body of scientific literature to connect EPA/DHA to benefits of either positive general or viral immunity outcomes in a healthy population, the organisation warned.

“It is also worth mentioning that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are closely watching for misleading product claims around COVID-19 prevention or treatment and even a general ‘immunity’ claim on a product could be considered an implied claim about COVID-19 given the current environment,” the organisation was quoted by nutraingredients.com as saying.

Commenting on GOED’s statement, Gretchen Vannice, director of nutrition education and research at AlaskOmega ingredients, was quoted as saying that this warning had been a smart step and was consistent with the company’s mission and code of ethics.

“As an industry, we sell dietary supplements, that is, nutrients intended to improve proper, normal functioning or to support the structure of the human body. As such, without evidence, we cannot and should not make claims we cannot support.”

However, Vannice said that there was no question that Omega-3 supplements, specifically fish oil supplements containing EPA and DHA Omega-3s, were required nutrition for general immune function.