A fishy business: did Durham Council make false claims about their fish oil (non)trial?

I was interested to see JQH at Letting Off Steam blogging about his difficulties in extracting information about Durham’s Council’s (non)trial of fish oil in their schools. Apparently, Durham referred JQH to a Council meeting response to a question put to them. However, at least one of the Council’s claims about Durham’s fish oil (non)trial is false – as a simple search of Durham’s own website makes clear. Oops…

Durham Council claims that their fish oil (non)trial

was never intended, and the County Council never suggested, that it would use this initiative to draw conclusions about the effectiveness or otherwise of using Fish Oil to boost exam results.

This is – to be blunt – simply not true. Searching Durham’s website for ‘fish oil’ brings up a 2006 press release, where the Council states that:

All Year 11 pupils at Durham County Council’s 36 comprehensive schools are to be offered omega-3 fish oil supplements to see whether the proven benefits it has already brought children and young people in earlier trials can boost exam performances too…the first test of the supplement’s effectiveness will be when [the pupils] sit their ‘mock’ exams this December.

Given that Durham Council said – in its own press release – that this (non) trial was going to let us see whether fish oil pills could boost exam performance, the Council was clearly wrong to state in 2008 that it “never suggested [that] it would use this initiative to draw conclusions about the effectiveness or otherwise of using Fish Oil to boost exam results”. Moreover, while one can’t know the Council’s intentions back in 2006, it would have been remarkably foolish of them to put out the press release quoted above if they did not intend to use this (non)trial to draw conclusions about the efficacy of fish oil.

Oh dear. This really is a fishy business.

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4 Comments

Filed under omega 3

4 responses to “A fishy business: did Durham Council make false claims about their fish oil (non)trial?

  1. JQH

    The press release also states that the fis-oil pill peddling is “the brainchild of David Ford, the Chief Schools Inspector” and that “the initiative has the full backing of Durham County Councillors”

    I am informed via the ICO that “the decision to implement the fish oils initiative was not made by the Council”

    I smell pork pies.

  2. pv

    It’s not as if Durham LEA don’t have a history of fishy research.
    Equazen on their web site refer to the Durham fishy business as an “initiative”. And they too lay the blame on the “Council’s Head of Achievement Services, Dave Ford”.
    As far as the Council is concerned perhaps they are disowning the LEA and distancing themselves from their own incompetence.

  3. Pingback: The fish oil zombie swims again in Durham: the fabulous mutating press release « Holford Watch: Patrick Holford, nutritionism and bad science

  4. Pingback: Paul Flynn and Welsh Assembly report on dyslexia and Dore « Holford Watch: Patrick Holford, nutritionism and bad science

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