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I was interested, but not surprised, to read a BBC report today about falling levels of Omega 3 in farmed salmon.

The industry has been under increasing pressure in recent years. Cost squeezes as a result of a fiercely competitive supermarket sector, scarcer supplies of aqua feed raw materials, supply issues from South American fisheries and dealing with a changing climate have all impacted on the industry and made it more difficult to produce a product that lives up to customer expectations and at an affordable price.

Difficult yes, but there is a way. Here at M&S, with our long standing partners Scottish Sea Farms, we’re proud of our exclusive Lochmuir Salmon which is rich in Omega 3, is farmed to leading welfare standards and produced in M&S Select Farms on the West Coast of Scotland and around the Orkney and Shetland Isles. We haven’t allowed our Omega 3 levels to drop and one portion of Lochmuir salmon still provides an adult’s entire weekly intake Omega 3 fats, the same as it did when we first launched our exclusive product back in 2006.

Omega 3 is a fatty acid that helps us maintain a healthy heart and a healthy brain. There are two types, short and long-chain Omega 3 fats and it is the long-chain fats that are particularly beneficial to human health. The recommended daily intake of long chain mega 3 fats is set by the EU as 0.45g daily. The UK Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition recommends that we should consume 3g of these fats weekly.  Only a third of the population eat enough oily fish to meet the recommended intakes. Lochmuir salmon is specifically designed to deliver the recommended weekly intake of long chain Omega 3 fatty acids from one portion.

We’ve achieved these levels by working hard and taking a long-term approach with our trusted supplier. We have refused to water down our standards and, when we’ve been presented with challenges, we’ve found ways to overcome them without affecting the product or its sustainability. Our salmon is grown to the highest welfare and environmental standards, for example all Lochmuir farms are 100% RSPCA assured.

The BBC report rightly points out that changes in feed have been the major contributor to the drop in Omega 3 levels in some products on the market. Feed prices have risen sharply in recent times, however our model of sourcing from long-term, exclusive farms has helped us mitigate against these cost rises. We also recognise that the health benefits of Lochmuir Salmon are important to our customers and we continually look at ways in which we can safeguard our industry leading position. Lochmuir is fed on an on an exclusive diet containing sustainable sources of Peruvian anchovy fish meal and oil that is supplemented with marine algae and we continually look for new, innovative sustainable sources to ensure we meet our Omega 3 levels.

Our guarantee to our customers and our commitment to our supplier is that we will not join the race to the bottom on price and standards. We will maintain our commitment to quality and innovation and you can trust us to deliver it in the most sustainable way. That’s what makes M&S food special.