Consumer interest in the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids is the focus of a new partnership between BASF and Cargill. BASF Plant Science will work with Cargill to develop canola oil with EPA- and DHA-rich omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. The canola will be a new and lower-cost source of these omega-3 fatty acids.

BASF said that omega-3 fatty acids have been shown in research to benefit the health of the heart and brain. But humans do not consume enough omega-3 fatty acids. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey reported that consumption of the acids in the U.S. is less that 185 mg/day. Recommended intake is 250 to 500 mg/day.

In the agreement between the two companies, BASF Plant Science will work to genetically enhance the omega-3 levels in canola seed oil. Cargill will work to develop the food products with the oil.

“This partnership supports Cargill’s objective of providing the healthiest oils to our customers and consumers globally,” said Jenny Verner, president, Cargill Specialty Canola Oils. “By addressing stability and cost, we are confident that EPA/DHA canola oil will be embraced by food, pharmaceutical and nutritional supplement manufacturers globally.” Verner added that this project builds on Cargill’s existing product portfolio and will further extend its ability to help customers deliver the benefits of omega-3s in food products.

“Both BASF Plant Science and Cargill believe that the market for omega-3s is very attractive long term and that this co-development and commercialization partnership will create value for our customers and both companies,” said Marc Ehrhardt, senior vice president, BASF Plant Science. “The combination of BASF’s innovative technology and Cargill’s leading position in the global supply chain for canola oil will make EPA/DHA canola oil-based products broadly accessible to consumers globally.”

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