Fish Oil Freshness

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Industry leader Nordic Naturals announced today that it has been exploring a scientific methodology with hopes of establishing a new testing method for naturally flavored fish oil. This will solve a long known industry problem of inaccurate and misleading test results with regards to freshness. 

"There is no established methodology for testing a naturally flavored oil because the addition of natural lemon or orange, for example, can create a false positive for anisidine (AV), an indicator of freshness, that then suggests that the finished product is not as fresh as it really is," announces  Joar Opheim, CEO of  Nordic Naturals. In order to address this, many manufacturers publish their preflavoring freshness values and not their finished product results.

Trade organizations, such as the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3 (GOED) and the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), are addressing the industry's voluntary guidelines that Nordic Naturals has long complied with. They are working on clarifying these guidelines to account for the technical issues related to testing finished flavored product so that this long known issue can be resolved and new quality standards around flavored fish oil can be established.

Adam Ismail, Executive Director of GOED, states "The addition of flavoring to fish oils changes the final product as a new ingredient is introduced, and it is no longer possible to determine the freshness or rancidity of the product using current methods. Natural flavorings do not cause spoilage in fish oils."

Because of this situation, confusion has ensued in the media and with consumers. For example, the January 2012 issue of Consumer Reports reported "elevated levels of compounds that indicate spoilage in Nordic Naturals pills," when they tested one of Nordic Naturals award-winning, best selling products. "Had the organization contacted us to let us know they were doing these tests, we would have had the opportunity to share very important and relevant information about testing naturally flavored oils. Because the organization's conclusion may be uninformed and incomplete, consumers could be led to question our product even though it has passed all other tests for quality that Consumer Reports included in their review. Nordic Naturals is working with the publication to resolve misleading information. It would be unfortunate for all if the many benefits of natural flavoring were called into question by inconclusive testing, compromising scientific integrity," notes Keri Marshall, MS, ND, Nordic Naturals Chief Medical Officer.

Further, some independent labs understand and acknowledge that natural citrus flavoring skews freshness values.

"For the past several months, Nordic Naturals has been developing a new procedure based on testing the fish oil prior to flavoring, then adding flavoring and testing, and finally removing the flavoring and testing for freshness again. We plan to announce our results early in 2012," adds Opheim.

All Nordic Naturals' products are tested three times during the manufacturing process including finished product. Freshness and purity values that far surpass international standards are consistently demonstrated based on third-party laboratory results. "We offer transparent access to our Certificates of Analysis, which is why consumers have trusted the safety and efficacy of our brand for years. As the leading supplier of omega-3 products, Nordic Naturals will continue to demonstrate its position as industry leader by committing time and resources into maintaining standards that produce the highest quality fish oil," states Dr. Marshall. 

For more information, visit www.nordicnaturals.com.