Thailand fish oil standards: Firms have two-year transition period to meet new composition and production processes

By Tingmin Koe contact

- Last updated on GMT

Thai authorities have introduced regulations on fish oil composition. © Getty Images
Thai authorities have introduced regulations on fish oil composition. © Getty Images

Related tags: Fish oil, Thailand

Thai authorities have introduced new standards for fish oil based on the existing CODEX guidelines, where products will need to adhere to specific fatty acid compositions and production process.

Manufacturers and importers having two years to adopt the new specifications. 

For example, at least 50 per cent of the fatty acids in concentrated and highly concentrated fish oil should be EPA and DHA in the form of triglycerides and or phospholipids.

Krill oil should consist 30 per cent of phospholipids, with triglycerides as the other main composition.

As for anchovy oil, the sum of EPA and DHA should be at least 27 per cent of the total fatty acids.

The newly introduced standards are listed in the notification of the Ministry of Public Health no. 422​. 

There is no existing or prior related standard regulating fish oil in Thailand, and the newly introduced standards are based on the CODEX guideline, said a regulatory expert.

“The Thai FDA regulations are normally developed based on international standards. As CODEX has adopted the Standard for Fish oil in 2017, it is timely for the Thai authority to introduce the standards and to ensure the fish oil products in the Thai market meet the international standards,”​ Poon Wai Mun, regulatory affairs consultant at Wong SJ Asia told NutraIngredients-Asia.

She pointed out that the Thai regulations have been “almost identical” ​to the CODEX guidelines.

As such, she does not foresee issues for manufacturers that have been complying with CODEX guidelines in adhering to the Thai regulations.

More details

The fatty acid composition standards for tuna oil, menhaden oil, cod liver oil, and salmon oil are also listed. 

“It is deemed appropriate to prescribe specific quality and standard for fish oils in order to comply with international standards and current development of production technology,”​ minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul said in the notification.

Oxidation is one of the key concerns for fish oil. According to the notification, the total oxidation value of fish oil should not be more than 26, especially for fish oils which has less than 30 per cent of phospholipids.

Specifications were also made for vitamin A and D levels.

“Vitamin A shall not be less than 40 microgram of retinol equivalents (RE) per 1 milliliter of oil, especially for fish liver oils.

“Vitamin D shall not be less than 1.0 microgram per 1 milliliter of oil, especially for fish liver oils,” ​said the notification.

However, the vitamin contents are not applicable to fish oil derived from deep sea shark liver oil.

Five types

According to the notification, fish oil can be classified to five types.

They include those derived from both major fish and shellfish species and fish liver.

Major fish and shellfish include anchovy, tuna, menhaden, salmon, and krill derived from certain species.

Krill oil derived from Euphausia superba, ​salmon oil from the family Salmonidae, ​tuna oil from the Katsuwonus pelamis ​species are some examples.  

As for the production process, crude fish oil or crude liver fish oil extracted from raw materials will need to go through heating, alkali/acid treatments, removal of water, removal of free fatty acids, bleaching or deodorisation.

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