Is Your Fish Oil Made in China?

So what’s in your fish oil?

Is it made with Chinese fish oil?

And why does the bottle not say ‘Made in China’ if the fish oil pills were made in China?

It’s easy for supplement companies to find loopholes in labeling rules. And most do. In all my years in the dietary supplement industry, I have never heard of any supplement company getting in trouble for country-of-origin issues.

80 year old regulations

The laws governing country-of-origin declaration is 80 years old. It was put in place when Herbert Hoover was in the White House and when China was a poor farming society.

Things have changed.

Regardless, the law says where ever the products underwent ‘substantial transformation’ is the country of origin.

That’s a loophole big enough to drive a Hummer through.

Theoretically, if the pills inside the bottle cost $2, and the packaging costs $3, then wherever the bottle was packaged is where there was a ‘substantial transformation’ in value.

Chinese-made pills that are bottled and sniffed for quality in America = MADE IN AMERICA.

Interestingly, US Customs and Border Protection, not the FDA, is responsible for country-of-origin oversight.

A LOT of the fish oil pills sold in American drug stores, grocery stores and department stores are Chinese.

What about mixing-n-matching?

There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING stopping a manufacturer from blending high-quality with barely-passing Chinese oil to ‘bump up the specs’ of the finished product.

Chinese oils could be 30% cheaper.

Fish Oil and Big-box Retailers

There are products sold at big retailers that could have Canadian oil in one lot and Chinese oil in another. As long as the ‘label claims’ (amount of EPA and DHA) and contaminant levels pass, everything is approved and shipped out.

In this case, it is not done to improve profits – when a retailer sells 10 million fish oil capsules every week, the manufacturer that supplies the retailer cannot be picky about where the oil comes from. It is a logistical nightmare to keep a large retailer stocked and supplied with such large volumes of fish oil, so some manufacturers buy oil or finished pills from anywhere they can.

If you buy a brand of fish oil at a very large retailer and decide to call the customer service number to figure out the country of origin of the oil, you will likely waste your time. It is unlikely that the customer service rep will know this information or be able to retrieve it easily.

Chinese ingredients are cheap. Sometimes they are of very high quality and other times, well, you’ve heard about the recalls.

Using Chinese oil reduces cost. And increases profit.

That’s irresistible to any corporation that has shareholders to please.

Live Phytoplankton provides the same benefits as fish oil and is the best replacement.  If you don’t eat cold water fish 3-4x per week then you need to be supplementing phytoplankton to get your essential omega-3 fatty acids.   We recommend trying out PhytOriginal which is the only living marine supplement sold in the US.



Special thanks to Vin Kutty for his additional contribution.

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