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Posted February 17, 2010

FTC Warns of Deceptive Claims with Children's Omega-3 Supplements

On February 17, 2010, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it had sent letters to 11 companies that promote various omega-3 fatty acid supplements, telling them they should review their product packaging and labeling to make sure they do not violate federal law by making baseless claims about how the supplements benefit children’s brain and vision function and development.

The FTC sent letters to the companies last month, cautioning that their product packaging and advertising might be in violation of the FTC Act unless they have scientific evidence to support claims that their products boost, improve, enhance, or support brain and vision function and development in children. Also included are claims relating to intelligence, cognitive function, learning ability, focus, mood, memory, attention, concentration, visual acuity, and eye health.

In the warning letters, the FTC gave the companies two weeks to respond and explain the steps they have taken, or intend to take, to ensure they are complying with the law. The agency warned that it may take law enforcement action if they make health-related claims for products without scientific proof.

In its letters, the FTC described a recent investigation it conducted into similar claims made by Northwest Natural Products, Inc., the marketer of L’il Critters Omega-3 Gummy Fish, a children’s Omega-3 gummy vitamin. The FTC stated that in response to its inquiry, NNP quickly modified all marketing materials for Gummy Fish, including product packaging and labeling, to ensure compliance with the FTC Act. To read the closing letter to NNP and learn more about the FTC’s investigation click here.