Growing need to explore alternative omega-3 sources
The summit will take place on Thursday 3 and Friday 4 March in Bruges. It will address the core questions: What is an adequate supply of omega-3 and where should it come from? More details are available at www.omega3summit.org
Professor Dr Jack Winkler, director of the Nutrition Policy Unit at London Metropolitan University in the UK, is one of the speakers focusing on sustainability of omega-3.
He told NutraIngredients that there is a looming challenge in how to obtain a secure and regular supply of long chain omega-3 in sufficient quantities to meet the dietary requirements of a global population that is expected to each 9 billion by 2050.
“We are going to have to do it with more than just fish,” he said.
Prof Winkler will present a diagram and analysis of four sources: fish, plants, processed foods, and supplements.
Prof Winkler believes that most people in most countries currently do not consume enough long chain omega-3, but it is a “fact of life that this is not yet accepted by the world”.
The normal focus is on micronutrient deficiency, such as iodine, iron, vitamin A, and increasingly on zinc. Macronutrient deficiencies, such as carbohydrates, fats and protein – and even less omega-3 – are rarely talked about.
The problem, he said, is that heart disease and mental capacity are complex, and as the precise role of omega-3 deficiency is not yet clear to people so it is overlooked.
“There is a big battle ahead,” he said. “We are still at the stage of persuading the world that omega-3 is a good thing”. On the other hand, he added, “we have to get practical about obtaining it.”
While advising people to simply eat more fish is clearly not appropriate due the stock sustainability issues, advice to eat less fish on sustainability grounds is the wrong way to go about it, and “a stupid response to sustainability issues instead of a considered response”.
Other speakers on sustainability of long chain omega-3 supplies at the Summit will be:
- Paolo Bray, Friend of the Sea, Italy, on Shifting the Paradigm of the Seafood Industry and Doing Things Differently
- Dr. Andrew Jackson, technical director, IFFO, UK, on Towards Sustainable Production of Fish Oil
- Adam Ismail, executive director, GOED Global Organization for EPA and DHA, on Omega-3 Supply Options: Availability in Food Products and Supplements
- Dr. Simeon Hill, British Antarctic Survey, on Sustainability of Antarctic Krill
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