USDA approves Cargill’s biotech omega-3 canola for cultivation

US agribusiness firm Cargill has received approval from the US Department of Agriculture to grow a biotech canola variety in the USA that produces omega-3 fatty acids, which can be used to replace fish oil in aquaculture feeds.

Cargill said on 7 August that currently, aquafeed for farm-raised salmon contained fish oil to help them reach desired eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) omega-3 fatty acid levels.

Its Latitude canola variety, developed in partnership with Germany’s BASF Plant Science, was a plant-based alternative to relieve harvesting pressure on wild fish populations, the company said.

Cargill said it had been testing omega-3 canola varieties under permit in Montana since 2015, and with USDA deregulation, it planned to advance the commercialisation of its long-chain omega-3 canola trait in a tightly-managed closed loop supply chain.

BASF generated the data package and submitted the application for USDA regulatory approval.

“We are committed to excellence in meeting the extensive regulatory and stewardship requirements that accompany a new, genetically-optimised crop, and to assuring strict adherence to all applicable regulations,” said Ralph Paulini, vice president of regulatory and stewardship for seeds and traits at BASF.

“This approval means we are on target to deliver Latitude. It represents another key step in creating a global supply chain that can meet a critical environmental challenge,” said managing director for Cargill’s specialty oils business, Mark Christiansen.