More Acai Berry Claims

A beverage containing acai berries is marketed as having the same essential fatty acids (EFAs) as in fish.

The number of unsubstantiated (and illegal) health and nutrition claims being made by manufacturers of products containing the acai berry is huge (and is being widely parroted by a gullible media). We’ll address only one here – that juice made from the acai berry is a good source of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and provides the potential heart health benefits of those fatty acids. See Blooper #165 for another example.

First of all, FDA has approved a “qualified health claim” for food products with omega-3 fatty acids, but they “must contain both EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids” (which, technically, are not essential fatty acids). These are not the same as the omega-3 fatty acids found in plant foods, including (in fairly insignificant amounts) in the acai berry. In addition, even if the acai products did contain these fatty acids, a disclaimer would be required to “qualify” the fact that the claim is based on “supportive but not conclusive research to show that these fatty acids are beneficial in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease.” No such disclaimer appears in the marketing or labeling of the juice product (which can’t use the claim anyway).

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