Fish-oil suppliers coalesce to educate consumers

Membership has more than doubled since the group's formation in October
A group of 15 marine-oil suppliers, formed last October to educate the public about the different forms of omega-3s, among other goals, has almost doubled its membership to 30 companies on four continents amid a flurry of communications and research activity.

Based in Utah, the Global Organization of EPA and DHA Omega-3 (GOED Omega-3) said it is committed to "developing EPA and DHA omega-3 consumer awareness and education strategies, and implementing quality standards and other measures that will continue to increase consumer confidence in the omega-3 EPA/DHA category."

Essentially, this means informing consumers of how the bioactives EPA (eicosa-pentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) have greater bioactive potential in the body than other sources of omega-3s such as ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) — which the body inefficiently converts to EPA/DHA and which of itself has few health benefits other than its fibre content. The group, whose members pay $12,000 a year, is establishing a website to assist this goal, as well as a monthly newsletter.

New product development (NPD), establishing official maximum levels and other regulatory approvals such as health claims are also high on the group's agenda, said GOED Omega-3 vice chairman, Thomas Grys, who is the managing director of Norwegian supplier, Denomega.

"We are in the process of establishing a research foundation that will assist in these activities to carry out research, develop health claims, formulation and NPD," he told FF&N. "We are also looking into the best ways to communicate omega-3 content to consumers on-pack, whether that be as a percentage of an established daily intake or in grams, as it is most commonly done at the moment. We are also looking at having a GOED logo to put on products."

GOED Omega-3 would also take up political positions where necessary, and is in the process of developing a response to the European Union health-claims initiative as FF&N went to press, Grys said.

Members include Ocean Nutrition Canada, DSM, Lonza, Croda, Lipid Nutrition, Nu-Mega and Martek.

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