National Starch will henceforth add Omega Protein's long-chain omega-3 fish oil product, OmegaPure, into the powdery ingredient Novomega, which will then be marketed to National Starch's worldwide customer base.
Omega Protein has granted National Starch a license to use the OmegaPure trademark on its products for an initial period of two years, though the company said this timescale could be extended.
"We are excited about the opportunity to introduce OmegaPure to National Starch's customer base," said Joe von Rosenberg, president and CEO of Omega Protein, "especially in light of the recent FDA announcement concerning the importance of EPA and DHA in fighting coronary heart disease."
Several food manufacturers use OmegaPure as an ingredient in buttery spreads, liquid eggs, salad dressings and other functional foods.
Omega-3 oils were already starting to hog the headlines last year, provoking extra demand for the nutrient and causing Omega Protein to build a new fish oil processing facility at its Reedville, Virginia plant, with the ability to produce 100-metric tons per day, more than tripling its capacity at the time.
"The current and anticipated demand for OmegaPure, as well as our other refined feed grade and industrial oils, suggests that the company should take this exciting step now to ensure that we are the supplier of choice for our customers," said von Rosenberg.
"We want our customers to know that they can rely on getting Omega Protein's refined oil products in the quantities they want, with the technical specifications they need and without concern about interruption of supply."
The FDA announced earlier this month that conventional foods containing EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids could now carry a qualified health claim stating that they may help to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), which causes 500 000 deaths annually in the US.
In 2000, the FDA announced a similar qualified health claim for dietary supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids.