Sustainability is directly linked to eco-friendly and eco-equilibrium. If the oil was obtained by sustainable methods, then it must be what it claims itself to be. Unsustainable methods endanger the ocean floor and the sea creatures that rely on environmental equilibrium to survive. Sustainability indicates that it was obtained in accordance with generally accepted principles that apply to eco-friendly fishing and sourcing. Fish Oil such as Krill oil are obtained in accordance with these sustainable methods of sourcing. But who vouches for this?
Sustainability can be validated by sustainability-certifying companies such as Eco-Label. Eco-label foremost inspects the source stock and samples collected to be checked for (fish) health, from obtaining them from source to having them go through transformation processes and outputs. When traceable, because traceability is a component of sustainability, they trace all value-chain related resources including the capitalization injected into the chain, labor, equipment for transformation of the source fishes, procedures, financing, administration and management. They also make sure that the procedures used for fishery conform to best and generally accepted principles and practices as defined by the standards set by environmental organizations (mentioned below). They make sure that the procedure for fishing does not threaten nor harm the food source of other sea creatures like fishes and mammals. To ensure that there is sustainable source of good quality supply, only small fishing boats must be used, instead of trawler ships that haul large quantities of deep sea fish. It is good practice to give only independent fishermen license to fish.
Another consideration for sustainability is production time. The shortest time possible to keep the fish oil fresh and of optimum quality and effectiveness must be sought for. There are a lot to consider in production- from raw state, the fish is separated into its major fractions namely: solids, oil and water. The separation must be complete and done in a sanitary location. It starts with heating to break the fats, then pressing to rid of liquids, then separating the liquid from the oil. This is done by evaporating the water to form a stable meal.
What worries environmentalists is the large scale production of fish oil. Thus this is one aspect of the industry that certifiers deeply look into. The extraction of fish oil is relatively simple but the sanitary conditions, the speed, the type of equipment used and most importantly, the procedures adopted are given heavy consideration. Equipment choice is very important as sustainability considers also energy savings and environmental protection.
The time it takes to bring the fishes to the production facilities is always observed because freshness is a priority in production. Most facilities are located near the harbor itself in order to begin production immediately.
The final products must use nitrogen in order to curtail vulnerability to oxygen which hastens the putrefaction process. Putrefaction leads to the rancid smell and with nitrogen’s cooling properties, this is avoided. The rancid smell conflicts with the benefits of Omega 3.
Thus we are seeing that achieving a non-toxic environment is the biggest indication of sustainability. Fish extracted from deep waters is naturally virtually toxin-free compared to fish extracted from polluted sections. To ensure purity, the purification procedures mentioned above are implemented. The standards of purity and safety are set by the Council for Responsible Nutrition, European Pharmacopeia Standard, and the Global Organisation for EPA and DHA Omega-3. In addition to these bodies, producers of fish oil are required to submit a certification from a third party testing company.
Finally these organisations test output by using them for human research to determine benefits and therapeutic effects. Foremost would be omega-3 in its highly bio-efficient phospholipid form. Of course completely vegetarian algae-based supplements are also considered. Test subjects are studied, interviewed and examined to determine if the benefits of Omega 3 are perceptible; for instance, digestive comfort and energy. To date, millions worldwide have benefited from Omega 3. Certifying companies are therefore our assurance that the fish oil we ingest are safe and will give us the promised benefits.