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Clutching for Health

Touch the Soil News #471

Imagine waking up in the morning in a nation that must feed almost 1.4 billion people, but has slightly less productive crop land than the U.S. with only 325 million people. Now, if that is not enough, imagine that you must compete for a healthy diet with other consumers bidding up the price. Yes, you are in China. This all sets the stage for a booming demand in China for what is called algal EPA-fortified eggs.

At the heart of the matter is algae and special strains of algae from which the EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) is derived. Laying hens are given feed that contains the microalgae which transfers EPA into the yolk of the egg. Claims are that clinical trials have demonstrated to improve blood circulation and reduce the formation of blood clots, among other positive attributes. Findings are that the microalgae feed also improves the health of the laying hens.

Grocery retailers in the major cities of Bejing, Shanghai and Shenzhen are merchandizing this egg at up to 10 times the price of an ordinary egg. Most folks could not afford healthier eggs. These three cities alone have almost 80 million people or 1/3 the number of people in the U.S.

Logo of the city of Shanghai – the largest metro area in the world (34 million people) is in the center of the EPA fortified egg trend.

While things seem better here in the U.S., the capacity of China to reach into other nations to feed itself should not be underestimated. Foreign trade agreements to export foodstuffs out of the U.S. make Americans direct competitors with China for food grown in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Following is a short video clip on the science behind EPA and DHA:

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