Now Kosher, MEG-3 ™ Brand Omega-3 Powder and Fish Oil Offer Food and Supplement Companies an Explosive Opportunity
OCEAN NUTRITION CANADA LTD. (ONC) isn’t just riding the Omega-3 ingredient wave; it is leading the way. Most people are not getting enough Omega-3 in their diets – 130mg per day on average compared to the American Heart Association’s recommendation of 500mg per day, and one gram for those with coronary heart disease (CHD). Now, with Ocean Nutrition Canada’s breakthrough microencapsulation technology and Orthodox Union kosher certification, all food manufacturers can add Omega-3 from fish to their products without altering the taste or smell.
Since its founding in 1997, ONC has grown into a leading researcher, innovator, and manufacturer of marine-based natural ingredients for the global healthy food and dietary supplement markets. Over the years, ONC, under the leadership of President Robert Orr, has developed a culture of excellence in all of its business practices, including research and development of new ingredients, manufacturing, regulatory affairs, quality assurance and control, marketing, and customer service.
Ocean Nutrition Canada is a leader in long chain Omega-3 EPA/DHA ingredients, with the world’s largest manufacturing capacity for fish oil concentrates. Only the finest sardine, anchovy, and mackerel fished in the deep waters off the coast of Peru are used in the manufacture of ONC’s MEG-3 brand premium quality Omega-3 fish oil ingredients. ONC’s commitment to quality is evident by the fact that MEG-3 fish oils are the first and, to date, only fish oil ingredients to achieve United States Pharmacopeia (USP) ingredient verification. To further build its reputation for excellence, ONC considered kosher certification for its MEG-3 brand Omega-3 ingredients.
In 2002, Ocean Nutrition Canada made the strategic decision to pursue kosher certification. The purpose of this initiative was multifold: It would enable ONC’s Omega-3 ingredient to be available to the largest number of consumers; open up the kosher food market to MEG-3 brand Omega-3 food ingredients; enable use of MEG-3 ingredients in strictly kosher food manufacturing facilities; and provide added value to our customers.
Once the decision was made, ONC sought to achieve kosher certification in a manner consistent with its well-established tradition of excellence. Following extensive research into kosher certification options, including consultation with other industry-leading manufacturers, ONC made the decision to partner with the Orthodox Union, the most widely recognized and trusted kosher organization in the world. That decision proved to be very beneficial, according to Janet Shay, Vice President of Quality and Regulatory Affairs at ONC, who declared, “We are extremely pleased with the relationship we have built with the OU. Not only have they lived up to their exceptional reputation, they have exceeded our expectations and have been highly responsive and supportive throughout the entire process.”
The Orthodox Union rose to ONC’s challenge, which included not only certifying the fish oil plant in Mulgrave, Nova Scotia (N.S.) and the Omega-3 powder plant in Dartmouth, N.S., but also certifying the catch and extraction of oil from the fish in Peru. Rabbi Blugrond, Senior Field Supervisor, and the local rabbinic representative, were instrumental in the kosherization of the fish in Peru, which included supervising the fishing and sorting of the catch to ensure only sardine, anchovy, and mackerel (kosher species) were allowed into kosher vessels for the oil extraction process. The fish oil was then sealed by the rabbi and shipped to Nova Scotia for processing.
To meet the OU standard, some process changes and technological modifications were required in the manufacturing of the fish oil and powder. The Orthodox Union worked very closely with Ocean Nutrition Canada to ensure that these requirements were met. Rabbi Blugrond; Rabbi Goldberg, Rabbinic Coordinator; Rabbi Safran, Senior Rabbinic Coordinator; and Rabbi Rosen, Rabbinic Representative, worked diligently in partnership with ONC plant managers, regulatory and quality assurance managers, and staff to ensure that both manufacturing facilities in Nova Scotia, which also manufacture fish oil ingredients that are not kosher, met the strict OU kosher standard.
New Master Production Records (MPR) were developed to ensure compliance with OU requirements, the plants underwent a four month set-up period in preparation for running both kosher and non-kosher production lines simultaneously, and finally the kosher certification was completed. Behind the scenes, ONC’s regulatory affairs and quality assurance managers and staff worked tirelessly to coordinate with Rabbi Safran and Rabbi Goldberg to guarantee that ONC followed OU procedures and standards throughout the entire certification process.
Ocean Nutrition Canada looks forward to continuing to build upon the solid foundation it has established with the Orthodox Union and to taking the partnership to even greater heights as the Omega-3 market continues to grow exponentially. Several factors provide the basis for ONC’s enthusiasm about the future of Omega-3 market opportunities. These include: the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) qualified health claim issued in 2004 for reduced risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) for foods containing Omega-3 EPA/DHA; FDA issued a similar qualified health claim in 2000 for supplements containing Omega-3 EPA/DHA; and the American Heart Association (AHA) recognizes the health benefits of Omega-3 and recommends eating two fatty fish meals per week and, for those with CHD, consuming one gram of Omega-3 per day. All of these, in combination with extensive media exposure, are leading to increased consumer awareness of the health benefits of Omega-3 EPA/DHA.
ONC’s MEG-3 ™ brand Omega-3 powder is now in development with kosher food companies across a range of categories. The future of kosher MEG-3 brand Omega-3 powder and fish oil ingredients is very bright and ONC welcomes the opportunity to continue to serve the healthy food and dietary supplement markets with premium quality Omega-3 ingredients.” This is an explosive opportunity for food manufacturers to provide a much-needed boost to consumers’ heart health,” said Michael Hodgett, Vice President of Business Development at ONC. “Now kosher food companies can deliver these health benefits too!”