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Meeting the new US FDA omega-3 qualified health claim for salmon: algae-based omega-3s as a sustainable feed source Jill Kauffman Johnson and Katie Compton Yahna, Corbion Algae Ingredients Strong research has supported the vital role that long chain omega-3s play when it comes to supporting normal brain development and function, as well as reducing the risk of coronary heart disease.1,2 One of the primary ways that long chain omega-3s – specifically docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) – make their way into the human diet is via seafood, especially salmon and other oily fish.3 The importance of long chain omega-3s recently got a new boost from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA). On June 19, 2019, the FDA announced that it “does not intend to object to the use of certain qualified health claims stating that consuming omega-3 EPA and DHA fatty acids in food or dietary supplements may reduce the risk of hypertension and coronary heart disease.”4 This is a significant step for the U.S. FDA, as it builds on a Qualified Health Claim (QHC) issued by the agency in 2004 relating to the role EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may play in helping to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. This new QHC discusses the role of EPA and DHA in helping to lower blood pressure – but in order for foods to be labeled with a QHC, there needs

to be a combined total of at least 0.8 grams of EPA and DHA (combined total) per serving.5 What does this mean for the salmon aquaculture industry? The US FDA has specified that the QHC can be used if the fish contains at least 0.8 grams of EPA and DHA in an 85 g serving of uncooked fish (or 55g of smoked salmon), setting a new minimum omega-3 threshold that U.S. consumers should expect from their salmon products making this claim.6 This poses a challenge for feed producers and salmon farmers. The major source of long chain omega-3s today is fish oil – salmon farmers understand the importance of omega-3s for fish health and highquality seafood, but there is consistent pressure to reduce the amount of marine ingredients used in feed to move closer to being a “net protein producer.”

Fish oil is a constrained resource Approximately 1 million metric tons of fish oil are produced each year, primarily for use in aquaculture, terrestrial animal feed, and human nutrition.7 About 70% of the available crude fish oil is consumed by the aquaculture industry, with use in farmed

Source: US FDA website:

Aquafeed: Advances in Processing & Formulation Vol 11 Issue 3 2019

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Aquafeed vol 11 issue 3 2019