Adam Ismail of GOED Omega-3, the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3, helps expand the worldwide market for omega-3 products. Fish, krill, plant, GMO, drug, supplement, food, drink — it if's got DHA and EPA, he'll promote it. What else does he say — and in which language does he say it? Suzanne Shelton reels Ismail in.
FI: Is Prop 65 fair?
AI: Actually, I do think California's Proposition 65 is fair. That is because the industry got together about eight years ago to developed the GEOD voluntary monograph. In doing that they set a minimum quality standard that picks individual aspects of regulation from around that world that they compiled into one document so that any product meeting that monograph would meet any regulation in the world. This is because the document is stricter than any regulation in the world. One of the standards in the monographs for PCBs is based on part on Proposition 65. The parts of Prop 65 that have been enacted and enforced are actually very helpful for the omega-3 sector. I think it will surprise some people.
FI: Let's talk about raw-material sourcing. Is overfishing an issue?
AI: It isn't right now but the industry needs to continue to be vigilant about it. There is a common misconception that the seas are overfished and therefore fish oil is the cause of overfishing. That isn't true. In fact, the fisheries for omega-3 oils are predominantly the Peruvian anchovy fisheries. In Peru, the largest source, they have been controlling the fish population since the 1960s and they do it in a very responsible way. This specific category, omega-3s, is one of the few categories that seems to be not as vulnerable to being discredited. Your emphasis about people being smart about the claims they're making is designed to protect that. That's one of the things the omega-3s space has going for it. It's got a good reputation because it has so much science behind it. And if companies are being too aggressive you threaten to tear down that reputation. There still is a threat that less-reputable companies can tear down the industry.
FI: You used to live in Rhode Island, and now you're in Utah. When you lived in Rhode Island did you fish?
AI: I did a little bit of fishing; I did more sailing out there. I guess in Utah you can actually sail on the Salt Lake. I haven't done that yet. There is actually really good fishing here, too — stream and lake fishing.
FI: You also used to live in Japan and are fluent in Japanese. And you share office space with Loren Israelsen (head of the United Natural Products Alliance), who is also fluent in Japanese. Do you guys talk Japanese to each other when you don't want anybody else in the office to know what you're saying?
AI: Well, fluent is a stretch. After so many years of not using it every day you tend to forget it. But yeah, we occasionally do. We definitely have a lot of sushi lunches.
FI: And is the sushi better in Japan?
AI: Yeah, definitely.
FI: I'm shocked.
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