OmegaVeritas, working with fellow Norwegian suppliers Aker Biomarine and Olympic Seafood-owned Rimfrost, has developed over the past year a system that “can provide highly accurate results” for Antarctic-sourced krill, valued at about €90m.
CEO Svein Erik Haugmo told NutraIngredients: "One small screening we did showed that six of 15 krill oil supplements claiming to be pure krill contained also fish oil or concentrated fish oil."
"Since the price for krill oil is at a high premium level, it is money to save for an irresponsible brand if they can substitute real krill oil with, say, a mix of EPA [eicosapentaenoic acid] and DHA [docosahexaenoic acid] omega-3s, soy lecitine [phospholipids] and astaxanthin."
The verification work involved developing, optimising and validating sampling procedures and logistics; analysis protocols; software algorithms as well as developing a reference database.
"Authenticity and transparency are two mega trends facing most consumer product categories, so tools like this ultimately help build trust," said Adam Ismail, executive director of the Global Organisation for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED).
"We have seen how important authenticity testing can be in other categories like botanicals, so establishing methods proactively has a lot of value for the category."
The Antarctic krill harvesting craft of Aker and Rimfrost were used to take a broad selection of samples from across the Antarctic krill fishery that has been certified sustainable by the likes of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
“As often happens with successful, premium ingredients, the krill oil category risks being attacked by suppliers with adulterated, low cost products,” said Aker CEO Matts Johansen.
Rimfrost CEO John Cameron stated: “With strong support from the industry, OmegaVeritas has now developed a tool for purchasers that will assist in isolating products that are 100% authentic krill oil.”
The tool will be available from June, 2016.