Secaucus, NJ— The plaintiffs in a California lawsuit against fish oil makers made waves at SupplySide East, held here in late April, with a tradeshow booth dedicated to their Web site The organizers of the tradeshow removed the booth for “inappropriate” behavior, which included promoting its lawsuit against industry companies, some of whom were exhibitors. The co-founders were banned from the event within two hours of the show floor opening.

In a prepared statement from Virgo Publishing, LLC, which produces SupplySide East, Jenny Bolton, president and CEO stated, “We removed this group from our private event because it is not appropriate to use this business-to-business forum for this purpose. As a privately owned and operated event, we have the authority to determine if a display or exhibitor is inappropriate.”

The plaintiffs also released a statement, indicating that they were threatened with physical violence at the tradeshow. co-founder Benson Chiles stated, “We were there to educate industry leaders about the risks associated with certain toxic fish oil supplements. What’s ‘inappropriate’ about that?”
One exhibitor commented to WholeFoods that the exhibit was a media stunt and that the lawsuit is simply about cashing in on a successful product category.

In April, WholeFoods reported on the filing of this lawsuit which attacks fish oil makers for supposed polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination (p. 10). The booth at SupplySide East sought to tell others about their testing of fish oil supplements, which they believe have higher levels of PCBs than other brands.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, June 2010