April 10, 2008

2 Min Read
Driving Demand for Omega-3s

In the year and a half since its inception, the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED) has been busy. The organization has worked steadily to meet its objectives to educate consumers about the health benefits of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); develop, sustain and expand markets for the omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA); establish ethical business and product quality standards; and advance government, health-care and industry relations.

A recent webinar, “Strategic Initiatives Driving Consumer Demand for Omega-3 EPA/DHA Food and Supplement Products,” provided an overview of the organization’s accomplishments and its future plans for promoting the growth of the EPA and DHA market.

During the webinar, Hilary Lloyd, chair of GOED’s regulatory committee and director of regulatory affairs, Ocean Nutrition Canada, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, discussed the role of the committee and its activities to date. “The objective of the regulatory-affairs committee is to influence the global regulatory environment to build a market for EPA and DHA, and to identify and respond to global regulatory issues,” she said. The group has lobbied for amendment of EU hygiene regulations and, most recently, responded to an FDA proposed rule to prohibit nutrient-content claims for DHA and EPA. In its response, GOED urged FDA and the Institute of Medicine to review current science on omega-3s and to set recommended daily intake (RDI) levels.

Mike Falk, Ph.D., executive director, Life Sciences Research Office, Bethesda, MD, discussed an upcoming GOED-sponsored workshop designed to gain a better understanding of the process for establishing daily values, and what new evidence is required to develop an RDI for EPA and DHA. Representatives from FDA, Institute of Medicine, USDA, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion and other federal agencies are scheduled to participate. “The hoped-for outcomes include a better understanding of the path toward change, and an understanding of the information and tools needed to build an action plan,” he said.

Since a large part of GOED’s mission revolves around disseminating information on the health benefits and applications of omega-3s, the organization awarded a grant to Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, for founding the International Omega-3 Learning and Education Consortium for Health and Medicine. Bruce Watkins, Ph.D., director of the consortium, highlighted how its activities will drive consumer acceptance of omega-3s. Central to the consortium’s mission is the development of a website that will provide accurate, timely information about omega-3s.

“Two out of three adults are searching on the Internet for knowledge to improve health and control disease,” Watkins said. “Our goal is to be the first source of information listed by web searches for omega-3s. Consumer education is key to the growing demand for information on omega-3s.”

For more information on GOED, visit goedomega3.com.

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