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Martek ruling paves way for more DHA in Canadian food

By staff reporter , 08-Jun-2006

Martek DHA, approved for use in infant formula in Canada since 2002, has obtained federal consent for use at higher doses in a variety of foods, paving the way for food companies to offer products with greater omega-3 content.

One of the nutritional oil ingredient manufacturer's chief omega-3 products, DHASCO-T contains the long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), a key omega-3 fatty acid for brain and eye development and cognitive function.

Health Canada has approved DHASCO-T oil for use as a food ingredient per serving levels of not less than eight mg and not more than 100 mg.

The omega-3 market has become lucrative in recent years as nutrient's benefits are more researched and publicized. Therefore having approval gives manufacturers a head start on their competitors.

This Health Canada ruling comes shortly after the federal agency approved microencapsulated fish-oil supplier Ocean Nutrition's MEG-3 to higher doses and for more foods.

"Government bodies are recognizing the importance of DHA to human nutrition throughout the lifecycle," said Martek CEO Henry Linsert.

The vegetarian source of Martek's DHA oil gives them a unique place in the market. Rather than being derived from fish oils, DHASCO-T is made from algae grown in stainless steel fermentors under tightly controlled manufacturing conditions. The company maintains this process eliminates the risk of oceanic pollutants and toxins that may be present in fish or fish oils.

Companies that obtain Health Canada approval benefit from a competitive advantage, but they know that this may not last for long.

"In the future, through the right steps, other suppliers will be able to get their ingredients approved as well," Ocean Nutrition VP marketing and new product development Ian Lucas told NutraIngredients-USA.com earlier this week.

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