DSM takes fish to infant formula market

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Dsm nutritional products, Omega-3 fatty acid, Docosahexaenoic acid

DSM Nutritional Products has launched an omega-3 fish oil powder aimed at a maternal and infant nutrition market that has tended to favour non-fish sourced forms of omega-3.

DSM’s new ingredient called, Ropufa ‘10’ n-3 INF Powder S/SD, combines DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) with EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) in an odourless and tasteless formulation, the company said, adding “it was ideally suited to meet the highly demanding standards set by the infant nutrition industry.”

Vegetarian, algal-sourced DHA dominates the maternal and infant nutrition sector, mainly due to scepticism that exists about the quality and appropriateness of some of the nutrients found in fish livers for infants.

Infant digestive systems are thought not best-equipped to deal with the overall composition of fish oils.

Contamination with metals such as lead and mercury have also been a concern of primary care givers even though this problem has been overcome in a great majority of the product on the market, and certainly that from the major suppliers.

Quality sourcing

Sabrina Borghi, DSM Nutritional Products’ manager of nutritional lipids, told NutraIngredients.com, the fact the ingredient was fish-sourced was irrelevant if quality could be guaranteed.

“The problem is not linked to fish-sourced products but to the safety and quality of ingredients entering the baby food market,” she said.“We all know that breast feeding is the best source of nutrition for infant but when it’s not available we have to make sure that babies get what they need through an optimal infant formula.”

The EPA/DHA ratio closely mimicked that of breast milk, she said.

“The product is pure and its microbiological characteristics ensure that the sensitive digestive system of babies won’t be harmed. Finally, we guarantee strict cross-contamination control.”

Years of research

DSM said “years of research and testing”​ had delivered a powder that does not absorb oxygen, which gave it stability benefits as well as delivering odour and flavour neutrality.

“We looked at the composition in long chain fatty acids of the best source of nutrition for infants, which is breast milk, and we tried to reproduce the average DHA/EPA ratio as much as possible,”​ Borghi said. “Then we looked at other parameters such as safety, stability and effectiveness. We wanted to be able to guarantee to customers’ peace of mind.”

She said the ingredient would be price competitive with other omega-3 ingredients on the market.

Of the new ingredient, Manfred Eggersdorfer, DSM Nutritional Products senior vice president research & development: “[It] raises the bar in terms of theproduct attributes customers should expect when purchasing micronutrients. Moreover, wehaven’t modified the fish oil (which is the base for the manufacturing of the powder) eitherenzymatically or chemically, so our formulation remains natural and true to its origin.​”

Upgrades

Ropufa is manufactured at DSM’s Swiss-based omega-3 plant in Sisseln.

DSM's omega-3 and omega-6 production was badly affected by a 2006 fire at its UK facility that only reopened in May.

At the reopening, DSM promised to deliver on technical upgrades that had occurred in the reconstruction of the plant. This meant a more flexible range, better quality and greater volumes.

At the time DSM said it was capable of producing a "technically advanced set of Ropufa forms."

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