GOED publishes new technical notes on omega-3 fatty acids for the EPA and DHA industries, addressing concerns about the presence of particles and proper labeling


The Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3 (GOED; Salt Lake City, UT) has issued two industry recommendations addressing technical issues related to omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA: one related to micro contamination – and nanoplastic particles and a second addressing the correct expression of EPA, DHA and total content of omega-3 fatty acids in oils.

The first report, “Contamination of Micro- and Nanoplastics in EPA / DHA-Omega-3 Oils”, deals with the filtration and centrifugation steps used by manufacturers and refineries of EPA and DHA-Omega-3 oils. The opinion notes that concerns about the persistent and growing presence in the environment of microplastics and nanoplastics derived from plastic waste have led to growing concerns about whether these particles enter the food chain, including ingredients from the ocean like omega-3 oils. Microplastics are micron-sized particles in the 0.1 µm to 5 mm (5,000 µm) range, while nanoplastics (in the 0.001 µm -0.1 µm nanoscale) are the result of the breakdown of these larger micron-sized particles.

The GOED recommendations state: “Microplastics have been detected in marine organisms such as fish, shellfish and other organisms that live on or in sediments of the sea floor.” The difficulty of measuring microplastics in the human body also means that the risk of these microplastics is still largely unknown to human health.

It is important that the previous notices contain no reports of the presence of microplastics or nanoplastics in EPA and DHA omega-3 fish oils that indicate that the filtration and centrifugation processes that take place during the omega-3 Oil processing are applied, these particles prevent entry of the oils. The advisory then provides more information on these processes and how to exclude these particles.

In the second recommendation, “Correct expression of the EPA, DHA and total omega-3 fatty acid content in oils”, the correct listing of the EPA and DHA content by manufacturers in accordance with GOED’s own voluntary GOED monograph for Omega – Discussed best practices to avoid incorrect expressions that could lead to non-compliance with label statements.

The report states: “The content of EPA, DHA and omega-3 total fatty acids should always be given in weight (mg / g) and never in area percent (area%). The weight of fatty acids should be given as free fatty acid equivalents in milligrams per gram (mg / g) of the oil. In addition, the weight of each fatty acid should be expressed as mg / g of the specific chemical form of the oil (i.e. triglyceride (TG) oils should always be expressed as mg / g TG, and ethyl ester (EE) oils should always be expressed as mg / g EE, etc. ). The content of EPA and DHA and other long-chain polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids (omega-3 LCPUFA), expressed as free fatty acids, can be converted into the weight of the fatty acid in the specific chemical form of the oil using conversion factors GOED guides provided. “

The opinion states that “the amount of EPA and DHA weighted as free fatty acids defines the exact amount of fatty acids present in a product. The expression as free fatty acids makes it easier to compare the EPA and DHA content between omega-3 oils and between products of different chemical forms. For nutritional information, however, the amount is expressed as TG form or EE form. This is necessary in order to fairly match the expression of the content to the chemical form of other lipids found in mixes or real foods. Chemical form information should also be included on the label of food or dietary supplements for an accurate description of the expression of the content. “

When specifying the weight by weight, but not by area%, the recommendations take into account other components that may be contained in an oil: “By using area percentages, the perceived amount of oil in a product is artificially inflated because it is not represents the actual concentration. As a result, it may appear that less oil is needed to formulate a particular product. The use of less oil in the formulation then leads to an incorrect and lower dose than intended for consumers. Put simply, an incorrect content printout can lead to label declarations not being adhered to. If a nutrient must be present at 100% of the specified value, compliance with the area% cannot be consistently achieved and the deviations vary from oil type to oil type. “

The report also deals with suitable methods for quantifying the omega-3 PUFAs in fish oils.


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