GMO plant-based omega-3 approved as NDI

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Nuseed Nutritional uses a genetically modified form of canola as the raw material for its plant-based omega-3 ingredient. ©Getty Images - alexxx1981
Nuseed Nutritional uses a genetically modified form of canola as the raw material for its plant-based omega-3 ingredient. ©Getty Images - alexxx1981

Related tags omega 3 EPA and DHA plant-based Canola Canola oil

Nuseed Nutritional US has announced its omega-3 ingredient derived from a genetically modified canola strain has successfully completed a New Dietary Ingredient Notification with FDA.

Earlier this month the company announced that the US Food and Drug Administration had reviewed its filing on its Nutriterra Total Omega-3 ingredient and concurred that it qualified as a dietary ingredient and was reasonably expected to be safe.

Nuseed Nutritional, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Nufarm Limited, had earlier obtained approval from the United States Department of Agriculture​ to begin growing the crop in the US on a test basis, starting with fields in Montana.

"FDA's acknowledgment allows us to progress our plans to expand into the human nutrition market and meet a growing demand for plant-based DHA+EPA omega-3 options,”​ said Benita Boettner, Nuseed Nutritional’s general manager.

The proprietary form of canola cultivated by Nuseed has been genetically modified with the addition of seven genes taken from microalgae.  Aquatic algae are the basis of the omega-3s food web as they are consumed by fish such as anchovies, sardines, tuna and salmon.  The fish then bioaccumulate EPA and DHA in their tissues.

Nuseed already has its ingredient on the market as a feed additive in aquaculture.  In tests done in Chile in 2018 and 2019 the ingredient reportedly cut mortality among farmed salmon​ when included in feed at rates ranging from 1.49% to 1.90%. Providing plant-based omega-3 oil to farmed fish gets around the sustainability conundrum of harvesting forage fish or krill and rendering them for fish oil which is then fed to farmed salmon and trout.

Cargill, in partnership with BASF, has a similar canola-based omega-3s ingredient on the aquaculture market but has yet to bring it into the human nutrition realm.

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