FAO approves Peru-backed fish oil standard

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By Milthon Lujan

Lima, Peru (Andina).- A fish oil norm based on a Peruvian labeling proposal was approved Monday by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ (FAO) Codex Alimentarius Commission, Peru’s Production Ministry informed. The measure will serve to clearly distinguish wild origin fish oil —like that from Peruvian anchovy— from its farmed counterpart, thus guaranteeing consumers’ right to information regarding fish oil products for human consumption.

The Inca country’s proposal was presented and backed during the 40th Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC 40) taking place in Geneva (Switzerland) through July 22. The national delegation comprised National Service of Fisheries Health (Sanipes) Executive Director Ernesto Bustamante and National Fisheries Society officials. Representatives of the Ministries of Production, Foreign Affairs, as well as Foreign Trade and Tourism were also part of the mission.

Among other things, the Peruvian initiative stipulates labeling should include information on EPA and DHA Omega-3s, which characterize each species and thus help guarantee the products’ authenticity. “Properly differentiating wild origin fish oils from those of farmed origin is important. Failing to do so could affect fish oil’s intrinsic health benefits, given the relation between Omega 3 and Omega 6 content,” Sanipes Head Ernesto Bustamante explained.

This way, the standard protects consumers’ health while fostering loyal practices in the food trade. Approved following a year and a half’s work, the norm was supported by the United States, Malaysia, Switzerland and Tanzania, among others.

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