Oils & Fats News June 2007

Omega-3 Supplements

There has been a recent market survey of the quality and composition of 29 of the Omega-3 supplements on the New Zealand market carried out by Consumer magazine. They tested the quality of 29 fish oil and fish oil combination supplements from supermarkets, pharmacies and health food stores. They also checked whether the levels of omega-3 in the capsules stacked up to what was claimed on the label.

Four products were oxidised above acceptable levels and three of these products were well within their best-before dates. Five supplements didn’t contain the levels of omega-3 stated on the label.

Fish oil supplements are covered by the Dietary Supplements Regulations. The regulations require proper labelling, but there’s no auditing of a manufacturer’s processes. There’s also no register of products.

Their test adds to the argument that New Zealand needs to have more stringent regulations for dietary supplements. Across the Tasman, dietary supplements must meet appropriate standards of safety and quality. All products must be registered and manufacturers licensed.

Parliament is considering the Therapeutic Products and Medicines Bill, which will harmonise the regulation of dietary supplements in New Zealand with the stricter Australian regime. We support the proposal to ensure consumers have access to quality and safe products.

See for a free download of the PDF of the article.

“Campbell Live” ran a review of the article which is quite informative

Long Chain PUFA in Infant Formulae

An application to change the ration of LCPUFA (w6:w3) ratio in infant formulae from 2:1 to a minimum of 1:1 can now be viewed on the FANZ website. The Applicant also states that no potential infant formula ingredient provides a natural ratio of 2:1 for arachidonic acid (AA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).  Therefore, where DHA is added there is a need to manufacture, purify and add AA to ensure that the required ratio is met.  Subsequently, the cost to manufacture products containing LCPUFAs is greater, and this cost is passed onto consumers.

An interesting, commercial and intellectual property issue surrounds this magic ratio in infant formulae.  Martek Biosciences holds a patent on the ratio of these fatty acids in infant formulae and has dominated the supply business of these ingredients from algal sources for many years. This patent has recently been successfully challenged.

Martek claims that its arachidonic acid is used in 85 percent of the infant formulae used in the USA.

Clinical trial boosts Omega-3’s ADHD benefit

Omega-3 supplementation of children with learning and behavioural problems led to significant improvements, adding important data to this high profile subject.

A number of studies have reported similar results and this led to calls by some for omega-3 supplementation of school children. Indeed, the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) last year reviewed the science in this field but ultimately decided against such measures, stating the evidence was insufficient.  In many cases these studies were said to lack quality in research methodology and reporting, and failed to account for confounders.

But studies like the randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial published in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioural Paediatrics could lead to a rethink in this stance.

Lead author of the new study Nathalie Sinn said that while omega-3 fatty acids appear critical for healthy brain development and health, efficacy in enhancing the learning and behaviour of children in the general population had not been investigated in a clinical trial.

“Between one in five and one in 10 children suffer learning and behaviour problems and these can cause significant problems for these children, their learning, parents, teachers and schools, and can persist into adulthood,” she said.

“Therefore I would deem any consideration of this research and indeed any research that demonstrates possible benefits for learning in school children with improved nutrition and diet by policy makers to be a positive step.”

The new study from the University of South Australia recruited 132 kids with ADHD aged 7 to 12 for the randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind intervention study. One hundred and four children completed the trial.

As an interesting aside, we recently had a brief visit from Adam Kelliher the Managing Director of Equatetch the supplier of the pure omega-3 supplement Eye-Q.  The grandson of Sir Henry Kelliher (Dominion Breweries fame) he is an interesting man, ex war correspondent and an entrepreneur who built up a nutraceutical company from the abandoned omega-3 oil plant in Scotland set up by his late father-in-law, Dr David Horrobin.  We hope to see Adam back in New Zealand for an omega-3 seminar in 2008.

Trans Fatty Acids (TFA)

There has been a lot of publicity about this recently in the media and finally the ministerial council, following recommendations from NZFSA and FSANZ have decided to take no immediate regulatory action but to keep monitoring progress by Industry in reducing the level even further in the food supply.

The final and very informative report on this issue is now available at the FSANZ website.

NZFSA has also released a press release:

World Congress on Oils and Fats and 28th ISF Congress

This major event will take place in Sydney on 27-30 September 2009.  The conference chairman will be Dr Rodney Mailer who has published many papers on the quality and integrity of Australian Olive oil.

It is quite easy to log onto the conference website to register your interest, receive updated information and to go in a draw to win prizes –

A lead- in event to this will be the joint AAOCS and Oils and Fats seminar in November 2008.

Global issue analysis – Dietary Fats

A United States perspective on dietary fats can be viewed on the IFIC website.

New Book from Oily Press

Written by Edwin N. Frankel, University of California, USA.

March 2007. Hard cover only. 266 pages, 67 tables, 44 figures, 656 references.
ISBN-13: 978-0-9552512-0-7 (ISBN-10: 9552512-0-6).
volume 20 in The Oily Press Lipid Library. Price £85 or US$174.


A new book “Choosing the right stuff” which gives a comprehensive guide to foods in the diet along with other very useful information for the consumer including fat and energy contents will soon be available from FSANZ.

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