Understanding the Steps of Quality Part 2 (of 4): Removing Impurities

In our last issue we discussed fishing selection and the importance of fishing is cold, clean waters with sustainable fisheries. So far, so good. Now that the fish had been produced into a bulk crude oil and shipped with great care to our facility in Norway, it’s time to purify. Here are the steps and what they accomplish.

Fish oil rich in Omega-3’s have a host of wonderful health promoting benefits. To ensure that these, benefits are realized great care is needed in processing to maintain the integrity of the oils. Additionally, there is the need to purify (yes, even with fish caught in the best of waters, like we discussed last time), and to prep so that the sensory characteristics are acceptable for human consumption.

In this vein 3Care’s manufacturing partner Napro Pharma utilizes some unique methods in this distillation process:

Vacuum (molecular) Distillation

This process utilizes a high vacuum method as opposed to a high heat method, which helps the integrity of the oils. Bulk crude fish oil is first blended with specific natural factors A proprietary natural carrier), that break up cellular membrane material so that the maximum quantity of omega-3 fatty acids can be extracted and all toxins can be removed. This process is also referred to “degumming.” Residual membrane material will negatively affect the overall detoxification process.

The modified oil is then slowly fed into the molecular distillation processor. The sole purpose of the “first pass” is to remove volatile compounds such as PCBs, dioxins, and free fatty acids. The oil slowly spread along the central cylinder, where vacuum and heat induce the expulsion and capture of volatile compounds via evaporation. Volatile compounds have a much lower evaporation point that long chain fatty acids.

Testing parameters after this first phase of processing include:

• Visual, taste and smell
• Area percent omega-3, free fatty acids, gas chromatograph
• Phospholipids

The natural profile (non-concentrated) now volatile compound free fats are then condensed and proceed to the next production step.

What’s great about Napro is they even use the by-product of this process to help fuel the plants generators. Talk about efficiency and reducing the carbon footprint. Anyway, this purifying step through high vacuum distillation is critical and really keeps the quality of the product front and center.

Read Part 3 of “Steps to Quality” in our next post

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