Scientists reveal benefits of fishmeal in pork

Enriching pig finishing diets with fishmeal can reduce saturated fat and increase levels of beneficial long-chain omega-3 fatty acids in pork, according to Australian researchers.

Scientists at the University of South Australia's Nutritional Physiology Research Centre carried out the research in conjunction with Bartlett Grain Pty Ltd and Australian Pork Ltd.

Dietary trials with volunteers showed eating the omega-3 enriched pork has health benefits, and showed the pork has a better shelf-life than other pork and is accepted by consumers.

Volunteers in the study ate five 200g servings of the omega-3 pork each week over a period of three months. Concerns that the products would smell or taste fishy proved unfounded.

Presenting the results at a recent symposium in Adelaide, project leader Professor Peter Howe said the findings represented a new milestone in functional food research.

He said: "Our research shows that the fatty acid profiles of both fat and lean tissue from pigs can be modified by altering the fatty acid composition of finisher diets. Fishmeal can also be added to poultry feed to enrich the omega-3 content of chicken meat and eggs.

"Now, for the first time, we have been able to demonstrate that regular consumption of these products results in an incorporation of the beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), into red blood cells.

"In simple terms, we found there was an increase in the incorporation of 'good' fats into cell membranes, and a corresponding reduction in 'bad' fats, which can help reduce the risk of health problems such as heart disease," he said.

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