Experts are warning that consumers could be fooled into thinking that food and supplements that contain omega-3 oils are healthier than they actually are.
New EU rules will allow manufacturers to place labels that claim to be "high" in or a "source of" Omega-3 fatty acids. Scientists say this could allow manufacturers to use plant oils to ramp up omega-3 levels in foods. The fatty acids derived in this way are not as healthy as fish oils.
"They would be able pour in cheap plant oils, but imply that they deliver the same health benefits as fish oils," said John Stein, Professor of Neurophysiology at Oxford University. "This exploits consumers' faith in omega-3s".
20 scientists from seven countries have signed a petition calling on the European Commission to stop the progress of these regulations and constitute a scientific committee to propose new guidelines.