Omega 3 farm feed to benefit humans

Press Association
Sunday June 18, 2006 7:33 AM

Routinely feeding fish oil to farmed animals and poultry could benefit human health, research shows.

Including the oil in animals' diets would increase levels of healthy omega 3 fats in their meat, a report in the British Nutrition Foundation's nutrition bulletin says.

This in turn could help tackle low-levels of omega 3 consumption among people in the UK.

The "very long chain" fatty acids known as n-3 polyunsaturates are commonly found in oily fish and can help protect against heart disease in humans.

But consumption of the important fatty acids among UK adults is well below the recommended amount, according to the report by University of Reading researchers.

Only 27% of UK adults eat any oil-rich fish apart from canned tuna, the report says.

Its co-author Ian Givens, Professor of Animal Science at the University of Reading, said omega-3 enriched milk and eggs were already on shop shelves.

That concept could be extended to meat and poultry products in order to benefit human health, he said.

Prof Givens added: "The potential of enriched animal-derived foods, especially poultry meat, could be crucial in achieving increased intake of fatty acids. If successful and accepted by the consumer, this could prove to be a major advance in the health of the nation."

In the long term, other plant-based sources of the fatty acids could be developed in order to meet demand, the report concludes.

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