Fermentalg enters crowded omega-3 rich microalgae oil arena with Novel Food approval

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

Fermentalg enters crowded omega-3 rich microalgae oil arena with Novel Food approval

Related tags: Fermentalg, microalgae, Schizochytrium

Fermentalg is celebrating the news that its microalgae derived, omega-3 rich Schizochytrium sp. oil is permitted for use as a novel food in food supplements, infant and follow-on formula.

Published in the Official Journal of the European Union, ​the oil has been deemed safe for use in food supplements at a maximum Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) level of up to one gram per day (g/day).

While the European Commission (EC) were unable to reach a conclusion for levels of oil used in infant and follow-on formula, the Authority authorised the oil from strain FCC-3204 to be utilised under ‘assessed conditions of use.’

The EC emphasised that placing it on the market was not an extension of all strains of the Schizochytrium ​genus as requested by the applicant.

No safety concerns

The European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) scientific opinion​ in January 2021, said Fermentalg’s intention to use the oil in infant and follow-on formula at 20–50 milligram (mg) per 100 kilocalorie (kcal) was ‘not expected to pose safety concerns.’

Further requirements of the placing include a labelling requirement to inform consumers that the food supplements containing the oil should not be consumed by infants and children under 3 years of age.

Along with Fermentalg. DSM are another organisation with permission to use Schizochytrium sp.​ oil as a source of omega-3 fatty acid in supplements, infant and sports nutrition products.

The firm’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.

Other firms in this space include BASF, Nutraveris and Mara Renewables, which successfully extended the use of its oil strain T18 for use in food supplements, food intended for infants and young children, special medical purposes, and total diet replacement for weight control.

The greener choice?

Traditionally, long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), such as DHA, are obtained from marine fish such as anchovy, salmon, mackerel, and tuna.

Fish oil is at present the major source of DHA. However, concerns around the sustainability of this source have prompted companies to explore alternative omega-3 sources, from algae to copepods and genetically modified oil seed crops. 

One alternative that has shown much promise is Schizochytrium sp​, ​which can be utilised as an alternative to fish oils due to its rapid growth rate, its weather condition independency and its DHA content, which make up almost 49% of its total fat content.

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