Nuseed, a subsidiary of Nufarm, Ltd. from Australia, has received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to start growing its own omega-3 canola, according to Food Navigator. The decision brings plant-based long chains Omega-3 fatty acids One step closer to the US market, the publication found.
Although the company may now plant its omega-3 canola in this country, the oil from the plants can only be used for food or feed applications if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration grants Nuseed regulatory approval. The company told Food Navigator that it is expected to receive this permit before the 2019 growing season.
Nuseed said in a press release that its canola is genetically engineered to produce long-chain omega-3 oil in amounts equivalent to wild fish. Genes are extracted from microalgae and used in canola to produce DHA-rich oil, or Docosahexaenoic acid, which is found in the meat of cold water fish.
This plant appears to have the potential to significantly limit the number of fish that would have to be harvested for omega-3 purposes. According to Nuseed, one hectare of rapeseed could produce the same amount of DHA oil that can be obtained from 10,000 one-kilogram fish.
Once the company gains FDA approval to use its proprietary omega-3 oil in food, some consumers – vegans and vegetarians in particular – may respond positively to the sustainability factor, while others may be concerned about the genetically modified aspect. A recent online survey by the International Food Information Council Foundation found that shoppers typically avoid genetically modified foods when they can. They want to label food so that they know if genetically modified organisms are present.
More people may be using omega-3 oil in supplements and fortified foods if they are aware of the health benefits. According to studies, omega-3s can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and depression, improve mental health, and improve a child’s learning ability.
Food Navigator pointed out that fish-derived omega-3s have been linked to cardiovascular health since the early 1970s, and different benefits come from different sources. The main types of omega-3 fatty acids available in the U.S. market come from fish, as well as vegetable oils and nuts such as walnuts, flaxseed, flaxseed oil, leafy greens, and some animal fat.
According to Grand View Research, the global omega-3 market was $ 2.04 billion in 2016 and should grow at an average annual growth rate of 6.6% between 2012 and 2022. This is hands down why Nuseed and other companies like Cargill are developing plant-based omega-3 products to bring to market.
Nuseed received approval from the Australian authorities earlier this year to plant its own canola and include the oil in food and feed in that country. The company next plans to market its omega-3 oil under the Aquaterra brand for aquaculture feed applications and subsequently for human nutrition applications under the Nutriterra brand.
Food Navigator said Nuseed is likely to be the first to launch its omega-3 product. Cargill and BASF plan to introduce their genetically modified canola product sometime after 2020.