UK thumbs up for novel ‘mini shrimp’ omega-3 oil

By Annie Harrison-Dunn contact

- Last updated on GMT

Norwegian firm Calanus first applied for novel food approval for its calanus oil as a food supplement ingredient back in January 2011. Photo credit: Uwe Klls
Norwegian firm Calanus first applied for novel food approval for its calanus oil as a food supplement ingredient back in January 2011. Photo credit: Uwe Klls

Related tags: Nutrition, Essential fatty acid, Omega-3 fatty acid

The UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) has said miniature shrimp Calanus finmarchicus is safe as a novel source of omega-3 oil and is now seeking feedback on its draft opinion.

Calanus finmarchicus ​is one of the most common species of zooplankton found in the North Atlantic Ocean and its oil is rich in both DHA and EPA.

Calanus oil contains fatty acids DHA and EPA (5% and 7%, respectively) as well as stearidonic acid.

Norwegian firm Calanus applied for novel food approval for its calanus oil as a food supplement ingredient back in January 2011.

After filling in missing data gaps, the FSA was finally able to complete its assessment this year and it is now seeking comments on its positive draft opinion​ by 18 May.  

“Based on the evidence provided, the [Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes] ​ACNFP therefore concluded that oil Calanus finmarchicus, used as proposed by the applicant is unlikely to present a health risk to consumers​,” the FSA’s ACNFP said in its assessment.

“Based on the bioavailablilty information provided they also concluded that the oil would not be nutritionally disadvantageous to consumers compared to other marine oils.”

The company says the oil could be a direct replacement for polyunsaturated fatty acid rich oils, including krill oil and algal oil.

A study published last month​ found supplements containing calanus oil may support cardiovascular health via anti-inflammatory effects in blood vessel walls.

According to the study’s authors, Calanus finmarchicus​ is “the most abundant crustacean in the North Atlantic Ocean with [an] annual production of several hundred million tonnes”.

Despite this, the total annual harvest amounts to less than 0.01% of the herbivorous copepod’s annual growth. 

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