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Nuseed's GM canola can provide an alternative to fish oil.
Nuseed's GM canola can provide an alternative to fish oil.

A genetically modified canola that produces the omega-3 fatty long chain acid DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) has been approved for use in aquaculture and agriculture in Canada.

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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) determined that Nuseed’s omega-3 canola meal is safe for use in livestock feed and the crude oil derived from the plant is safe for use in fish feeds.

CFIA also confirmed that the GM canola poses no increased environmental risk compared to other cultivated canola and is approved for cultivation.

Separately, Health Canada determined that the highly refined oil derived from Nuseed’s canola is safe for human consumption as or in foods in Canada.

Fish oil alternative

The GM canola has been developed as an alternative to fish oil to be included in aquafeed (marketed as Aquaterra) and for human nutrition (marketed as Nutriterra).

Nuseed group executive, Brent Zacharias, said the Canada was one of the world’s largest producers of farmed salmon, and the regulatory approvals were an important milestone in the development and commercialization of omega-3 canola.

“These approvals position Nuseed to supply the Canadian market with an oil that has been shown to deliver fish health benefits and to enable industry sustainability goals, particularly in reducing the reliance on scarce marine ingredients,” said the executive.

“Given Canada’s position as the largest canola production country, approval also ensures our future scalability, giving us access to a key expansion market.”

Growing in US

Australia-based international company Nuseed received United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) deregulation approval for cultivation in 2018 and doubled its contract production of GM canola in 2019 by partnering with growers in Montana and North Dakota. 

GM canola predominantly containing another omega-3 long-chain fatty acid, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and marketed as Latitude, has been developed by chemical giant BSAF and feed producer Cargill.

And Rothamsted Research in the UK has developed a GM camelina that provides both EPA and DHA, although it is not as far down the path towards commercialisation as Nuseed or Cargill.

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