DSM receive EC backing in extending algae-derived omega-3 oil use

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

DSM have been granted an extension by the European Commission (EC) that permits the use of Schizochytrium sp. oil as a source of omega-3 fatty acid for use in foods that include supplements, infant and sports nutrition products.

The decision represents a successful outcome for the Heerlen-based firm, who made the request in September last year to extend the use of the novel food Schizochytrium sp​. oil to fruit and vegetable purees.

However, existing conditions governing the oil’s use remained unchanged, as the EC did not request an opinion from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in approving the extension maintaining the subsequent updating of the Union did not pose any safety concerns.

Directive 2002/46/EC

The entry​ for ‘Schizochytrium​ sp. oil’ now includes conditions under which the novel food may be used. These include specified food categories like food supplements as defined in Directive 2002/46/EC.

The maximum DHA level permitted are 250 milligrams (mg) of the omega-3 fatty acid, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)/day for general population and 450 mg DHA/day for pregnant and lactating women.

Meanwhile, a limit of 200 mg/100 g of DHA is safe for use in products such as foods intended to meet the expenditure of intense muscular effort, especially for sportsmen,

The limit also applies to milk-based drinks and similar products for young children as well as processed cereal-based foods and baby foods for infants and young children as defined in Regulation (EU) No 609/2013.

Dairy products (except milk-based drinks) are another food category, in which the maximum levels of DHA are 200 milligrams (mg)/100 grams (g) or for cheese products 600 mg/100 g.

Dairy analogues except drinks are permitted a maximum DHA level of 200 mg/100 g or for analogues to cheese products 600 mg/100 g.

Additional specific labelling requirements were outlined too, with the designation of the novel food on the labelling of the foodstuffs containing the oil to be ‘Oil from the microalgae Schizochytrium sp.’

Life’s DHA from DSM

DSM’s involvement with algae-derived omega-3 oils stretches back to 2013 with the launch of the firms’ own algae-derived DHA product range, Life’sDHA.

The oil originates from microalgae grown in fermenters that range in size from 80,000 to 260,000 litres.

When grown, the microalgae is then harvested and processed to extract a clear, amber-coloured oil rich in DHA.

In January 2018, DSM and Evonik created Veramaris a new company that produces omega-3 fatty acids derived from natural marine algae for animal nutrition.

The joint venture, headquartered at the DSM Biotech Campus in Delft in the Netherlands, enables the production of the omega-3 fatty acids without using fish oil from wild-caught fish, a finite resource.

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