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US approves plant-based fish oil replacement

28 August 2018, at 9:16am

A strain of omega-3-rich GM canola, which could be used to help reduce the aquaculture industry’s reliance on fish oil in their feeds, has been approved for use by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Developed by Nuseed, in collaboration with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), it is anticipated that one hectare of the canola has the potential to provide the same omega-3 yield as 10 tonnes of wild caught fish.

Nuseed successfully planted 15,000 acres of omega-3 canola in Montana under USDA notification this year, with that crop currently being harvested. The oil produced from this crop is destined for ongoing pre-commercial trials in key markets.

Nuseed's is currently harvesting 15,000 acres of GM canola in Montana
Nuseed's is currently harvesting 15,000 acres of GM canola in Montana

The company plans to initially commercialise omega-3 oil – branded as Aquaterra – for aquaculture feed uses, followed by Nutriterra for human nutrition applications. The unique profile of the Nuseed oil ensures that it will easily fit with current market practices and meet the needs of multiple end-market applications on a commercially viable basis.

Long-chain omega-3 DHA and EPA are essential for human and fish health. This new proprietary product aims to help relieve pressure on wild fish stocks, which are the current sources of these important nutrients. By providing a proven land-based source of these oils, Nuseed aims to help maintain adequate supply to meet increasing global demand for long chain omega-3s.

Nufarm Managing Director and CEO, Greg Hunt, said “USDA approval represents another very significant milestone in the development and commercialisation of this important new product.

“It further validates the safety and quality of the product and the regulatory progress being made in multiple jurisdictions.”

The USDA deregulation marks a critical step toward global regulatory approval of omega-3 canola. Food and feed regulations are overseen by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Nuseed’s submission to the FDA is still being processed and approval is anticipated prior to the 2019 US cropping season.

Nuseeed’s Andy Thomas said the USDA decision helps consolidate the company’s production plans in support of commercial launch from the United States next year.

“This approval has been achieved at the earliest end of our expectations and along with Nuseed’s well-developed stewardship platform will allow us to rapidly expand our production.”

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The strain secured authorisation for cultivation, food and feed from Australian authorities earlier this year.

Senior Editor at The Fish Site
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