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Ahiflower oil gets Health Canada foods approval

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Omega-3s steriodonic acid plant-based omega-3s Health canada

Photo courtesy of Nature's Crops International
Photo courtesy of Nature's Crops International
Nature’s Crops International, manufacturer of Ahiflower oil, an omega-3 rich plant oil, has announced its product has received Health Canada approval for use in foods.

The company said it received a no objection letter on July 17 on its submission to the Canadian regulator.  According to Nature’s Crops International, the letter stated that, “Scientists at Health Canada with expertise in molecular biology, microbiology, toxicology, chemistry, and nutrition conducted a thorough analysis of the data and the protocols provided by the applicant to ensure the validity of the result.”

SDA conversion ratio key part of story

Ahiflower oil is the culmination of a years’ long development effort in the UK of a particular strain of Buglossoides arvensis​, an oilseed crop, sometimes referred to by the common name Corn gromwell.  The seeds of this plant contain the highest level of intermediate omega-3 fatty acid steriodonic acid (SDA) yet discovered in nature.

SDA is seen as important in the plant-based omega-3s sphere because of the higher conversion ratio of this molecule into EPA, one of the bioactive omega-3s found in fish, krill and algal oils.  Nature’s Crops claims this conversion ratio to be as high as 30%, whereas only about 3% to 6% of ALA, the other common plant based omega-3 fatty acid found in sources like flax seed, is converted to EPA in the body. 

The Health Canada approval means as much as 2 grams of Ahiflower oil per serving can now go into foods including dairy and dairy analog beverages, vegetable and fruit juices, oils and dressings, sauces, baked goods, snack foods, soups, and soft candy. The product has been on the market in the US for several years as a dietary supplement delivered via soft gels.  It appears both as a standalone prdouct as well as in combination with other ingredients.

“Natures Crops is delighted for Ahiflower oil, which is produced in Prince Edward Island at our dedicated refinery, to now be available in foods and beverage products widely in Canada,”​ said Greg Cumberford, Nature’s Crops’ VP of science & regulatory.  Cumberford said the ingredient’s clean flavor profile should make it easy to work with in many food applications.

The product will be distributed for food and beverage uses in Canada by Cambrian Ltd.

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