Sunday, January 22, 2012

FDA Warned Diamond Foods About Making Disease Claims

This is not news. It happened 2 years ago. But it's news to me.

The FDA sent a warning letter to Diamond Foods telling them that the claims they were making for their walnuts place the walnuts into the category of "drug" because FDA defines "drug" as something intended for use in the prevention, mitigation, and treatment of disease.

FDA gave examples of Diamond's claims:
"Studies indicate that the omega-3 fatty acids found in walnuts may help lower cholesterol; protect against heart disease, stroke and some cancers; ease arthritis and other inflammatory diseases; and even fight depression and other mental illnesses."

"[O]mega-3 fatty acids inhibit the tumor growth that is promoted by the acids found in other fats ... "

"[I]n treating major depression, for example, omega-3s seem to work by making it easier for brain cell receptors to process mood-related signals from neighboring neurons."

"The omega-3s found in fish oil are thought to be responsible for the significantly lower incidence of breast cancer in Japanese women as compared to women in the United States."
I think Diamond started promoting walnuts as drugs when they made disease claims. I mean, for Diamond to state or even imply that their shelled walnuts can inhibit tumor growth is powerful stuff.  Before the existence of the FDA, people sold lung tonics and cough cures and other dubious remedies with similar claims.

I just came from their site,  It looks like they complied.

The Life Extension Foundation says this action by the FDA "resembles an out-of-control police state where tyranny reins over rationality." 

I guess there are two sides to every story.
This might be an old package in the photo because it still has that "Omega-3" in the right-hand corner. Speaking of omega-3, walnuts have over 4 times more pro-inflammatory omega-6 than omega-3. And the omega-3 in walnuts is not the same type as is found in fish oil. So, that fish oil reference is stretching it. Also, both omega-3 and omega-6 are polyunsaturated fats which oxidize quickly, inside of the body and out, and so are not, in my opinion, a food to consume in copious amounts.

Thank you LB for the link.


preserve said...

Unfortunately, this probably has little to do with food safety.

Diamond is under investigation from the SEC.

preserve said...

Scratch that. I didn't read that the actual letter was in 2010.

Claudia said...

You don't see that Omega-3 on their package anymore. It doesn't matter, omega-3 is yesterday's big thing. They got out of it what they could. The rage now is vitamin D. They'll be putting it in chips soon.

Bix said...

Good point. Diamond was, what's it called?, when you plant an idea and even though the idea doesn't have good credentials, it sticks, even though you retract it? It's like swift-boating? They probably knew all along they'd have to pull it, but they had made money off it by then. It was a fait accompli.

caulfieldkid said...

Is there a name for that line of argumentation, Bix? It's like when a lawyer makes a statement/question knowing that it will have to be "withdrawn." You can't very well unsay it. The jury will be colored by it, regardless of it being struck. Someone help me out here. What's that called.


Bix said...

I wish I could name it! But I like what you said, "You can't very well unsay it."