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Judge says Fish Oil + Vitamin D is not 'Made in Australia.' And it smells. And people burp

Staff Writer | December 5, 2018
Nature's Care Manufacture that makes fish oil capsules out of ingredients shipped from Chile, China, and Indonesia has lost a court bid to label the product "Made in Australia."
Fish Oil + Vitamin D
Australia   "My associate thinks it smells like semi-fermented grass cuttings"
Nature's Care Manufacture can no longer say its "Fish Oil + Vitamin D" capsules were made in Australia, after Justice Nye Perram ruled that the capsules were not really all that different from the raw materials that were imported into Australia to make them.

Nature's Care fish oil capsules, sold as Healthy Care Australia, have sported the "Australian Made And Owned" label. The label is regulated by the Australian Made Campaign.

The Australian Made Campaign told Nature's Care it had to stop using the label from Dec. 31, 2018, because it no longer accepted the capsules were actually made in Australia.

Justice Perram described the capsules as "quite cosmopolitan" in their makeup: the fish oil is imported from Chile; the vitamin D from China; and the soft gel capsules formed out of gelatine sheets made from gelatine powder, purified water, and glycerol. The glycerol is imported from Indonesia, but the water and powder comes from Australia.

In Australia, these ingredients are made into the capsules.

But under the law, Nature's Care had to show the goods were "last substantially transformed" in Australia in order to keep using the label. This test requires goods to be "fundamentally different in identity, nature or essential character" from the imported ingredients.

Justice Perram wrote: "I find that the fish oil imported from Chile smells unpleasant. I was provided with a sample of this fish oil as Exhibit MX-3 and have smelt it. It is smells like a cross between stale fish and vinyl.

"My associate thinks it smells like semi-fermented grass cuttings revealing his more sophisticated nose. I have not tasted it but I am prepared to infer that it would be very unpleasant to consume even in small doses.

"I also accept that placing the fish oil in the soft-gel capsules has the effect of making palatable and flavourless a product which is essentially very unpleasant.

"It has another benefit too. By sealing the fish oil in the capsules the speed of oxidation is reduced and, along with that, the rate of deterioration in the fish oil caused by exposure to light. This is not the case with the liquid fish oil imported from Chile.

"There is a related issue. Professor Barrow properly drew my attention to the phenomenon of ‘burp-back’.

"‘Burp-back’ occurs when a soft-gel capsule containing something malodorous such as fish oil is consumed.

"Once the capsule descends into the digestive depths of the stomach the soft-gel dissolves releasing its noxious payload the odour of which, thus liberated, rises up the gullet to the mouth where, unsought and unwelcome, it presents itself as a salutary warning against the perils of belching. Professor Barrow succinctly described it as ‘unpleasant fishy burping’."