Pork as a Source of Omega-3 (n-3) Fatty Acids

Dugan, Michael
Vahmani, Payam
Turner, Tyler
Mapiye, Cletos
Juárez, Manuel
Prieto, Nuria
Beaulieu, Angela
Zijlstra, Ruurd
Patience, John
Aalhus, Jennifer
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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.


This article is published as Dugan, Michael ER, Payam Vahmani, Tyler D. Turner, Cletos Mapiye, Manuel Juárez, Nuria Prieto, Angela D. Beaulieu, Ruurd T. Zijlstra, John F. Patience, and Jennifer L. Aalhus. "Pork as a source of omega-3 (n-3) fatty acids." Journal of Clinical Medicine 4, no. 12 (2015): 1999-2011. doi: 10.3390/jcm4121956.

pig, pork, n-3, omega-3, LNA, ETA, EPA, DHA