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Omega-3s Are Stars in New Product Development

NAPLES, N.Y. -- Food makers from around the globe are redoubling their efforts to provide the heart-healthy benefits of fish in their products, according to Datamonitor's Productscan Online database of new products. The number of new foods launched in the United States and Canada that claimed to be high in omega-3 fatty acids nearly doubled between 2002 and 2004.

The range of foods benefiting from omega-3 fortification is also expanding to include foods like frozen waffles, salad croutons, bread, chocolate bars, eggs, and pasta, according to Datamonitor.

In September 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it would allow makers of products fortified with specific long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA to claim that their products may help reduce the risk of heart disease. That has undoubtedly been a big factor in the new product development, noted Datamonitor's researchers.

Additionally, in March 2005, the FDA expanded the number of food categories in which omega-3 fatty acid-rich menhaden oil may be used, from 14 to 29. Menhaden is a herring-like fish that's not used as seafood, but is abundant along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Coasts.
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