Enzymotec krill oil achieves GRAS

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Krill oil, Krill

Israeli company Enzymotec has obtained GRAS status for its krill
oil, which the company hopes will allow it to commercialize the
ingredient for use in functional foods in the US.

Krill oil, rich in omega-3, phospholipids and antioxidants, is derived from the planktonic family of crustacean. Enzymtec entered the still immature market for krill oil last year, supplying the ingredient for use in dietary supplements. According to the firm, its recently acquired GRAS status will help push the ingredient in other market segments. "Our krill lecithin is the only one which gained the US-FDA confirmation for its GRAS status while other products have only been self-affirmed. The GRAS (status) is yet another important step in our effort to become a major player in the krill oil market and in the functional foods in general,"​ stated the company's CEO Ariel Katz. However, competitor Neptune Technologies and Bioressources - which currently dominates the market for krill oil - also announced in recent weeks that its krill oil has achieved GRAS status. Although this is, for the time being, self-affirmed, Neptune said it plans to submit its documentation to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in order to give greater weight to its status. Most of the science relating to krill oil to date has been conducted using Neptune Krill Oil (NKO). It has been shown to control LDL cholesterol levels, and also shows potential in cognitive health. Enzymotec's offering is said to have a different composition, so research on NKO would not necessarily be transferable. However, Enzymotec has said it is also conducting clinical research into the health benefits of its ingredient. Krill, which means 'whale food' in Norwegian, are small shrimp-like marine crustaceans eaten by fish, birds and, in particular, whales. Krill are considered to have the largest biomass of any multi-cellular animal in the world - between 100 and 800 million tones. Despite this, the population has reduced in the past 30 years, resulting in some concern over its harvesting. According to the Antarctic Krill Conservation Project, fish farming uses about 75 per cent of the world's fish oil and 40 per cent of its fish meal, and this could increase to 79 per cent and 48 per cent respectively by the end of this decade.

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