SUBSCRIBE

Breaking News on Supplements, Health & Nutrition - Europe US edition | APAC edition

Read more breaking news

 

 
News focus: Omega-3

Regulation: Omega-3 ready for RDIs and further health claims

By Shane Starling , 03-Sep-2008
Last updated on 13-Oct-2009 at 14:51 GMT2009-10-13T14:51:32Z

Regulations governing the omega-3 market vary greatly between regions but in common is the fact there is no official, government-recommended dietary intake (RDI) anywhere in the world and approved health claims are few.

The omega-3 industry has been growing rapidly for many years but many think its expansion would have been even greater were it not for the uncertainty created by this situation.

Claims

Cardiovascular health claims are only permitted in some countries like the US and the UK and the lack of an RDI is becoming an elephant in the room that is getting bigger by the day. Further discussion and, ultimately, resolution on these matters is required and sooner rather than later.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved qualified health claim relates to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and states:

"Supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. One serving of [name of food] provides [x] grams of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids.”

The UK claim states:

“Eating 3g weekly, or 0.45g daily, long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, as part of a healthy lifestyle, helps maintain heart health.”

The European Union is in the process of assessing 1000s of health claims, some of which relate to omega-3 health benefits in areas ranging from brain function to maternal and infant health.

Resolution on these is due by January, 2010 and it is expected the rejection or approval of omega-3 claims that will apply across the bloc’s 27-member states will resonate internationally and may prompt a raft of approvals.

RDIs

The RDI situation is a little strange given the volume of scientific study and the existence of unofficial recommendations from creditable groups such as the Institute of Medicine (IoM) in the US and the UK Export Group on Vitamins and Minerals (EVM).

In a 2002 report, IoM recommended a safe level for EPA and DHA of about 270mg per day, a figure industry would consider as being at the low end of the spectrum.

The American Dietetic Association recommend a minimum combined intake of 500 mg/day EPA and DHA to support heart health.

In 2003, an EVM report recommended 450mg. There are higher measures such as 2000mg per day from a Japanese report.

The Global Organization for EPA and DHA (GOED), which represent suppliers and distributors of EPA/DHA fatty acids as well as omega-3 food and supplements manufacturers, is busy commissioning and collating the kind of scientific and other information that may lead to the establishment RDIs in major markets such as Europe, North America and Asia.

GOED argues the opportunity to express the omega-3 content of their foods and supplements as a percentage of a government-backed RDI is a powerful marketing tool as well as being in consumer interest to have access to this kind of information.

“GOED believes the FDA should consider an approach more akin to nutrient content claims on macronutrients like fiber, where chronic disease prevention was a criterion in establishing nutrient content claims rather than just nutrient deficiencies,” GOED wrote in a letter last year.

The lack of an official RDI has led to some products using unofficial recommendations as faux-RDIs which has led to criticism from groups like the Washington DC-based Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).

Market leader Ocean Nutrition Canada said last year that official RDIs were 2-3 years off in North America and Europe.

Hygiene

New European Union hygiene regulations based on HACCP principles are also having an impact which groups such as GOED claim could decimate the industry.

An extension of the Directive’s imposition, due in November, 2007, has been granted until the end of 2008.

In a recent report on the European omega-3 market, Frost & Sullivan predicted the impact of the legislation would be “low-to-medium” due to effective lobbying campaigns.

To read the first part of this series, please click here To read part 3 of this series, please click here To read the final part of this series, please click here

Related products

Live Supplier Webinars

Polyphenols tipped to become the way to innovate in Sports Nutrition
Fytexia
Alpha & Omega in Sports Nutrition – Using Omega 3’s and A-GPC to improve performance and recovery.
KD Pharma
Orally bioavailable standardized botanical derivatives in sport nutrition: special focus on recovery in post-intense physical activities
Indena
Collagen in motion: move freely and keep your injuries in check
Leading manufacturer of gelatine and collagen peptides
Life’s too short for slow proteins. Whey proteins hydrolysates: Fast delivery for enhanced performance
Arla Foods Ingredients
What it Takes to Compete and Win in Today’s Sports Nutrition Market
Capsugel
Sports Nutrition Snapshot: Key regional drivers and delivery format innovations
William Reed Business Media
Gutsy performance: How can microbiome modulation help athletes and weekend warriors
William Reed Business Media
Pushing the boundaries: Where’s the line between ‘cutting edge nutrition’ and doping
William Reed Business Media

On demand Supplier Webinars

High-amylose maize starch may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes: what does this qualified health claim mean?
Ingredion
Balancing Innovation and Risk in Sports Nutrition Ingredients
NSF-International
Explaining bio-hacking: is there a marketing opportunity for food companies?
William Reed Business Media
Personalized Nutrition – how an industry can take part in shaping the future of Nutrition
BASF Nutrition & Health
Find out Nutritional and ingredient lifecycle solutions and strategies!
Roquette
Is the time rIpe for I-nutrition?
William Reed Business Media
The Advantage of Outsourcing Fermentation-based Manufacturing Processes
Evonik Health Care
All supplier webinars