Fish-based products abound at IFIA

Published on
June 15, 2009

A handful of marine-product exhibitors participated in the 14th annual International Food Ingredients & Additives Exhibition & Conference (IFIA) at the Tokyo International Exhibition Center.

Tokyo-based Chisso Corp. sells fish-scale collagen under the Marine Collagen Oligo brand. Fish-based collagen has a positive image, as Japanese consumers are wary of beef products due to BSE (mad-cow disease) and of collagens made from farm animals in general, because of the possible use of antibiotics and pesticides.

Fish-scale collagen has little taste or odor and has low molecular weight, which makes it easier to digest and assimilate into the body. Collagen is supposed to restore moisture and elasticity to skin.

Amicogen of Jingsung, South Korea, sells several specifications of chitosan, made from crab shells. Chitosan turns into a white powder after the shells undergo decalcification, deproteinization, decolorization and deacetylation. Major chitosan production centers are India, Southeast Asia and China. Production is based on byproduct shrimp heads or crab shells, generally using foreign-sourced materials such as Alaska deep sea crabs.

Chitosan is positively charged and binds to lipids, or fats, which has led to the claim that supplements containing chitosan bind to dietary fat before they’re absorbed by the body. While chitosan is popular among Americans seeking easy weight loss, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration maintains that anecdotal weight loss claims for chitosan are unsupported. The FDA prohibits unproven health claims, causing marketers in the United States to promote it in vague terms as a dietary supplement.

Amicogen promotes its chitosan for its immune-system-boosting and anti-bacterial effects rather than for weight loss.

Izumi Foods Ltd. of Tokyo and co-exhibitor Bonito Foods Ltd. offer kelp extract and a wide variety of fish extracts for Japanese dashi soup base, including katsuobushi (dried, fermented and smoked skipjack tuna), bonito tuna, iriko (dried anchovies), mackerel and horse mackerel.

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