US academic urges Dean Foods to remove omega-3 DHA reference

By Mark Astley

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Omega-3 fatty acids Omega-3 fatty acid

A US academic has called on Dean Foods to remove a reference to research she conducted on the intake of omega-3 fatty acids from cartons of its DHA-enriched milk range.

Cartons of the Horizon Organic Milk enhanced with DHA Omega-3 range, which are manufactured by Dean Foods’ division WhiteWave Foods, reference a paper written by Penn State University professor of nutrition Penny Kris-Etherton.

The cited report, Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in the Food Chain in the United States,​ claims that Americans do not consume enough Omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA, which is also known as docosahexaenoic acid.

Kris-Etherton has called on Dean Foods to remove the reference because some of the statements on the carton are not supported by her work.

Her request has been backed by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which published the cited paper.

Sufficient omega-3 fatty acids

“Yes, I asked Dean Foods to remove the reference from the carton because some of the statements on the carton were not supported by information in our paper,” ​Kris-Etherton told

“Even though the one statement about the fact we do not get sufficient omega-3 fatty acids in the diet, could be supported by citations in our paper, there were several other statements on the carton that were not supported by our article.”

“These latter statements were not linked to the reference; however, most consumers would think that they were supported by the article if they did not carefully ‘read the fine print’.”

Kris-Etherton added that Dean Foods is likely remove the reference when they next print cartons for the product. approached WhiteWave Foods to confirm if and when it would remove the reference, but no response was forthcoming before publication.

The Horizon Dairy website has continued to reference Kris-Etherton’s research.

US DHA intake

According to Kris-Etherton’s report, intake of omega-3 fatty acids, such as alpha-linolenic acid (APA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and DHA, in the US is approximately 1.6g per day (g/d).

“Attaining the proposed recommended combined EPA and DHA intake of 0.65g/d will require an approximately 4-fold increase in fish consumption in the United States.”

“Alternative strategies, such as food enrichment and the use of biotechnology to manipulate the EPA and DHA as well as ALA contents of the food supply, will become increasingly important in increasing n-3 fatty acid intake in the US population,” ​said the report.

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