The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking public comment on whether fish oil should be used to prevent or treat certain types of cancer, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, according to an agency blog post.
The proposed rule could have a broad impact on the nation’s fish and seafood industries, according with the EPA.
It would require that products containing the oil be labeled with a health warning and a warning that the oil is not for human use, according the EPA’s summary of the rule released Thursday.
The EPA has been examining how to protect fish, including omega-6 fish oils, since the agency launched its campaign in 2014 to reduce the amount of omega-7 in the food supply.
The agency’s first fish oil rule in late 2017 required that fish products include a warning about the risk of cancer.
A separate proposal from the EPA on Wednesday would have required that products labeled with omega-5s, the primary component of the fatty acid Eicosapentaenoic acid, include a health label that warns about cancer.
The proposal would have also required that the product not be sold in grocery stores.
The proposal, which has received broad support from both sides of the aisle, would have taken effect in March 2021, according EPA spokeswoman Julie Ward.
The FDA also released its draft rules for the first time Thursday, and it is the first agency to propose such a broad definition of fish oil.
The agency’s draft rule would have applied to fish products containing up to 25% omega-4 oil and 20% omega “omega-6” oil, according, the summary of its proposal.
It also would have allowed companies to manufacture and sell omega-2 oils containing up a quarter to 30% omega oil.
In addition, the agency proposed a broad range of labeling requirements for fish oils to ensure the products are labeled “high in omega-9, high in omega 3, low in omega 6” and “low in saturated fat, saturated monounsaturated fat, trans fat and sodium.”
Those requirements would be included in the draft rule and would require labels that include the words “safe for humans” and a health claim about the benefits of fish oils for preventing or treating cancer.
The rules would also require that all fish products sold in the U.S. be labeled as containing a low level of omega 3 and a high level of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
The agency also wants the EPA to consider whether omega-11 fats, which are found in some fish and shellfish, should be added to the list of substances that are deemed safe for humans.
That would be done with the approval of the National Research Council and the National Academy of Sciences.
A final rule could come as early as June 2020, according Ward.
She said that a final rule is expected within a year.