EPAX ready for omega-3 hygiene rules

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Fish oil, European union, Omega-3 fatty acid

Norwegian fish oil supplier, EPAX, has had its South American omega-3 fish oil supply approved by a local authority to meet new European Union hygiene regulations, due to kick in on May 1.

Austevoll-owned EPAX said the facilities and fishing fleet of its Peruvian-based sister company, The Austral Group, had been inspected by the Institute of Fisheries Technology of Peru, and the audit revealed no manufacturing quality issues.

The EU hygiene rule falls under a directive that aims to ensure the quality of raw materials across the 27-member bloc. One quality issue the directive should overcome is the fact production of oils for animal feed and human nutrition (around three per cent of global fish oil production), has not always been segregated, but is required to be under the new regulation, among other stipulations.

EPAX chief executive officer, Bjorn Refsum, said his company, along with most other major suppliers, were already in compliance with the regulation, and welcomed its passage into law as it would help improve quality across the industry and weed out any unscrupulous players.

“This regulation means companies must fully document their supply chain and that is a good thing for industry,”​ he told NutraIngredients.com.

“Contaminated material is increasingly rare and a minor issue for this industry but it will be even more difficult for inferior product to reach market now. This is an excellent tool tosecure the whole value chain and wipe out opportunistic players.”

EPAX and The Austral Group had made some upgrades on facilities to comply with the regulation which places an emphasis not only on traceability but also sustainability.

“This regulation is very positive for industry and we welcome its imposition,”​ Refsum added. “It will improve quality and provide greater peace of mind to consumers.”

The EU hygiene regulations state raw materials like fish must be derived from registered establishments, including vessels, and derived from products fit for human consumption and handled throughout the food chain as such.

The Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3 (GOED) estimates 50-80 million Europeans consume omega-3s to maintain heart health, brain health and overall wellness.

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