A nutritionist who published a study about the health effects of omega-3 fatty acids in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has objected to Dean Foods Co.’s decision to cite her work in marketing the health benefits of its Horizon organic milk fortified with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Penn State University Professor Penny Kris-Etherton apparently took issue with Horizon milk labels that used her paper to support a claim that “many Americans don’t get the recommended DHA from their everyday diet.” According to Kris-Etherton, however, her research did not establish an optimum level of DHA consumption for the average consumer.
“It’s not right—it’s inaccurate,” she was quoted as saying. “It’s a marketing strategy to sell more of their milk.”
Kris-Etherton’s concerns have evidently led Whole Foods Market Inc. to review its policy on DHA health claims and Dean Foods to consider voluntarily withdrawing the citation. “It’s appropriate to use published scientific studies as references for support of a statement,” a Dean Foods’ spokesperson told the press. “However, per the author’s request, we are considering removal of the claim within our next round of packaging changes in 2013.” See Bloomberg Businessweek, July 25, 2012; Bloomberg, July 27, 2012.