Set daily long-chain Omega 3 recommendation at 250mg, say EU scientists

European scientists have set reference intake values for Omega 3 and Omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) for the first time.

The European Food Safety Authority was asked by the European Commission to provide an opinion on values which could be use on labelling to guide consumers on recommended daily intakes.

In its decision, EFSA's Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA Panel) proposed:

  • 250mg/day as the labelling reference intake value for the long-chain Omega 3s eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
  • 2g/day as a labelling reference intake value for plant-based omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
  • 10g/day as the labelling reference intake value for the Omega 6 PUFA linoleic acid (LA)

These levels, it said, were "in agreement with most recent evidence on the relationship between the intake of these fatty acids and cardiovascular health in healthy populations".

These values, it said, could be "used in food labelling to facilitate comparison of the PUFA content of food products and to help convey the relative significance of the food as a source of PUFA in the context of a total daily diet, and can also be used to set appropriate conditions of use for health claims on PUFA."

European Commission officials, meanwhile, have given America's Martek Biosciences draft additional novel foods approval for its life'sDHA brand of DHA Omega 3.

The decision by the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health means Maryland-based Martek will be able to market the algal oil for use in bakery products, cereal bars and beverages, including milk-based and milk analogue drinks, throughout the European Union.

The ruling expands the current categories approved in 2003, which included breakfast cereals, spreadable fat and dressings, dairy products (excluding milk-based and milk analogue drinks) and food supplements. There are currently more than 30 food, beverage and supplement products that include life'sDHA available in the EU, according to Martek.

"This additional novel food approval will allow Martek to work in even more food and beverage categories and offer European consumers the important benefits of DHA in healthy and convenient products with life'sDHA for brain, eye and heart health," said Rob Winwood, Martek's director of scientific affairs in Europe.

The draft Commission decision is expected to be confirmed in the coming months.

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