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Walmart Accused of Selling "False and Misleading" Heart Health Supplements

The retailer has been hit with a new lawsuit over its fish oil supplements.

Walmart sells just about everything, and that includes a wide variety of supplements. But the company has occasionally come under fire for some of these offerings. Last year, Walmart was investigated for the potential mislabeling of magnesium supplements, and also got flagged by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for selling possibly "highly toxic" weight-loss capsules online. Now, a new lawsuit is targeting fish oil supplements sold by Walmart, because of allegedly "false and misleading" statements about their heart health benefits.

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Plaintiff Pearl Magpayo filed a fraud suit against Walmart Inc. on March 6 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. She alleges that the company is selling fish oil supplements that they falsely claim are beneficial to heart health, Top Class Actions reported.

The class action suit states that Walmart's Spring Valley Omega-3 Fish Oil Soft Gels have clear claims of cardiovascular benefits listed on the product. The label features statements such as "Heart Health, "Omega-3," and "Fish Oil is a source of Omega-3 fatty acids that support heart health," alongside a heart symbol on the front of the label.

But Magpayo contends that there is no scientific proof that fish oil supplements have a positive impact on heart health.

The Mayo Clinic confirms as much on their website. Research shows that people who eat dietary sources of fish oil—such as salmon, mackerel, trout, mussels, oysters, and crabs—at least twice a week have a lower risk of dying from heart disease. At the same time, "taking fish oil supplements seems to have little to no benefits to heart health," according to the Mayo Clinic.

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"Despite the lack of evidentiary support, companies like [Walmart] continue to make false and misleading claims related to Omega-3 supplements because reasonable consumers are particularly vulnerable to such claims," Magpayo's lawsuit states.

The plaintiff also alleges that Walmart's Spring Valley Omega-3 Fish Oil Soft Gels do not include a required FDA disclaimer.

Per the lawsuit, the FDA requires omega-3 supplements making heart-health claims to provide the following disclaimer: "Supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA Omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease."

This statement does not appear on the Walmart fish oil supplements, according to Magpayo.

Best Life reached out to Walmart about this new lawsuit, and we will update this story with the company's response.

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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