Photo: Lewis Road Creamery
Photo: Lewis Road Creamery

KaiSeptember 8, 2020

Lewis Road Creamery drops health claims for its collagen milk

Photo: Lewis Road Creamery
Photo: Lewis Road Creamery

The company’s latest product, made with supplement company Jeuneora, has come under fire from Consumer NZ for failing to comply with food standards.

High-end dairy company Lewis Road Creamery is the latest brand to jump on board the collagen craze with a new collagen-infused milk that hit shelves just last week. However, the company has since been forced to backtrack on health claims after it was pointed out that they failed to comply with New Zealand food standards. 

The milk is made with bovine collagen from supplement brand Jeuneora, which Lewis Road’s website initially claimed “specifically [aided] joint health and mobility” and had been “scientifically shown to regenerate joint cartilage [and] stimulate the body’s own mechanisms for maintaining healthy joints and optimum mobility”. 

But Consumer NZ found these claims hadn’t been approved by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), the regulatory body for food manufacturers.

“Unless already approved, companies have to provide evidence to substantiate health claims before using them to promote their products,” Consumer reported. “No health claims for collagen have been approved and FSANZ confirmed it hadn’t received evidence from Lewis Road to back up the claims.”

The claims have since been removed from the company’s website and social media posts.

Photo: Lewis Road Creamery

Lewis Road general manager Nicola O’Rourke said the company “missed a piece of the permission process” in sharing information on collagen benefits and that it was now in the process of getting FSANZ approval. 

“As soon as we realised our mistake, we removed the material from the website,” she said. “Rest assured that there’s no issue with the product or the information on our label or website.” 

When asked what research the product’s initial health claims were based on, O’Rourke said she wasn’t able to share that information until it receives formal sign off from FSANZ. However, when Consumer NZ asked Lewis Road for evidence it was using to back its claims last week, it was sent two reports from supplement manufacturers that the group “didn’t find persuasive”.

Over the last few years, collagen supplements have skyrocketed in popularity for its purported benefits for hair, nails, skin and joints, but its efficacy remains up for debate. Some studies have found that taking collagen supplements for several months can improve skin elasticity, wound healing and joint health, but conclusive scientific evidence is yet to emerge. Many of these studies are small or industry-funded, and with the science still in its infancy, most health professionals agree further research needs to be done. 

On its website, Jeuneora explains that the Type II New Zealand bovine collagen – which comes from cow cartilage – used for its whey protein range is “known for its use in supporting muscle and joint recovery and mobility” and that its products assist with post-workout recovery by “supporting muscle mass, growth and maintenance”. This was reiterated last week by Jeuneora chief executive Monique Kaminski, who said the bovine collagen used was specifically to support joint health. 

Unlike Lewis Road, Jeuneora’s products aren’t regulated by the FSANZ, which specifically excludes dietary supplements from its scope, although social media posts by Jeuneora still claim joint health and mobility benefits for its collagen-infused milk. 

Jeuneora has been contacted for comment.

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