Pork as a source of omega-3 (n-3) fatty acids

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  • Pork is the most widely eaten meat in the world, but typical feeding practices give it a high omega-6 (n-6) to omega-3 (n-3) fatty acid ratio and make it a poor source of n-3 fatty acids. Feeding pigs n-3 fatty acids can increase their contents in pork, and in countries where label claims are permitted, claims can be met with limited feeding of n-3 fatty acid enrich feedstuffs, provided contributions of both fat and muscle are included in pork servings. Pork enriched with n-3 fatty acids is, however, not widely available. Producing and marketing n-3 fatty acid enriched pork requires regulatory approval, development costs, quality control costs, may increase production costs, and enriched pork has to be tracked to retail and sold for a premium. Mandatory labelling of the n-6/n-3 ratio and the n-3 fatty acid content of pork may help drive production of n-3 fatty acid enriched pork, and open the door to population-based disease prevention polices (i.e., food tax to provide incentives to improve production practices). A shift from the status-quo, however, will require stronger signals along the value chain indicating production of n-3 fatty acid enriched pork is an industry priority.

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    Article (Published)
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    Attribution-NonCommerical-ShareALike 4.0 International
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    • Dugan, M. E. R., Vahmani, P., Turner, T. D., Mapiye, C., Juarez, M., Prieto, N., Beaulieu, A. D., Zijlstra, R. T., Patience, J. F., & Aslhus, J. L. (2015). Pork as a source of omega-3 (n-3) fatty acids. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 4(12), 1999-2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm4121956
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