Juliette Tompkins writes in poultryworld.net that most health organizations across the world recommend a minimum daily intake for healthy adults of 200mg of omega-3 in our diet, but with a growing world population of over 7 billion people, demand is at an all-time high, and innovative and sustainable solutions are required to fill this void. Omega-3s in layer poultry diets not only bring significant health advantages to the hens but can also transfer these benefits to the consumer via their eggs.
UK manufacturer of energy, protein and omega-3 supplements UFAC-UK has developed a sustainable, environmentally friendly, vegetable source of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) using algae rather than fish oils. “Algi18DHA is a traceable, sustainable, high-quality alternative to fish-oil-sourced omega-3s,” says UFAC-UK national sales manager, Nigel Bateson. “It is a free-flowing meal of algae oil from native Schizochytrium species. It contains a minimum of 18% omega-3 DHA in the biomass and is easy to incorporate in feeds.”
Crucially, this DHA translates directly from the hens to their eggs, bringing benefits to the consumer. “DHA brings many benefits, including blood pressure and heart rate reduction, and aids vascular health. It also raises good cholesterol and improves cognitive health, and we are keen to develop ways of passing these benefits through the food chain to the consumer,” said Mr. Bateson.
Working with progressive suppliers and innovative egg producers and farmers, UFAC-UK has been able to transfer these nutritional benefits to the end consumer in the UK. A notable early adopter of this sustainable source of omega-3 is UK-based St Ewe Eggs, situated in Cornwall. Packing 1 million eggs per week in total, St Ewe Eggs wanted to push the boundaries and develop a super nutritious everyday egg, specifically for the health and wellness market.
St Ewe Eggs, along with poultry specialists, Humphrey Feeds & Pullets, had identified the traceability and nutritional benefits of algae, providing high levels of DHA. Owner Rebecca Tonks worked with Humphrey Feeds & Pullets to develop a scientifically-based feed using algae-sourced omega-3 in combination with selenium, a naturally occurring mineral and one of 13 essential minerals needed to maintain health and boost immune support. “Selenium and fatty acids are two beneficial ingredients in human diets, so it seemed obvious to put them together,” says Ms. Tonks. “The growth rate of algae is phenomenal, so it’s a sustainable source of DHA omega-3. The health benefits for humans are huge: consuming the omega-3 in egg form, as opposed to tablet or supplement form, means more can be gained because the human body can break it down and store it in human tissue.”
So far, 29,000 of the 189,000 laying hens are on the Super Egg diet, producing approximately 152,000 Super Eggs per week out of the 1 million eggs packed weekly. Although still in its infancy, the Super Egg brand is gaining traction with the focus very much on the immune and antioxidant support benefits, as well as improving heart health through DHA omega-3.
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