Irida S.A.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How big is Greek aquaculture today, which are the main species cultured and which are the main markets?
Mediterranean fish farming production is close to 280,000 tons fish per year of which around 40% is produced in Greece. Fish feeds produced for the above mentioned fish are close to 470,000 tons on a European scale.

Main species cultured are Seabream (Sparus aurata), Seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax), Sharpnot Seabream (Diplodus puntazzo), and Meagre (Argyrosomus regius).

Main markets for Mediterranean fish farming production are Italy (31%), Spain (22%), Greece (20%), France (6.6%), Germany (4.3%), U.K. (3.4%), Holland (2.5%), Portugal (2.4%), others (7.8%.).

Why should we eat fish?
Fish does not only taste good – it is also good for our mental and physical health. The presence of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids, make fish a healthy choice. Fish are the most excellent source of proteins and fatty acids, elements essential for our health.
According to broadly published research results, it’s recommended that we should eat fish at least 2 times a week. Fish have high nutritional value, since they are rich in high quality protein while at the same time they are also rich in ω-3 fatty acids, which are connected.

The link between diet and coronary health has been widely studied. Research focusing on fish consumption shows that two meals a week can positively impact cardiovascular health.

Finding the right balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the body seems to be of particular importance in reducing the symptoms of inflammatory diseases such as arthritis.

Low fish consumption seems to be a common factor among many of those suffering from asthma and allergies. There are also indications that a mother’s consumption of oily fish during pregnancy can reduce a child’s likelihood of developing asthma.

Omega-3 fatty acids provide a type of fat vital to normal brain development in unborn babies and infants. There is also evidence linking low levels of essential fatty acids with dyslexia.

Benefits associated with fish consumption and omega-3 fatty acids continue to grow in number. Omega-3 fatty acids can have a positive effect also on gallstones, osteoporosis, weight loss and eye sight

What is included in one kilogram of fish feed?
Farmed fish are fed with manufactured complete fish feed, which has a composition that corresponds to the dietary habits and needs of each fish species in nature. Fish feed has the form of dry pellets sized from 0.3 mm-12.0 mm diameter.

The production process involves preprocessing of fresh raw materials, which are usually fishmeal, fish oil, soya, corn gluten and wheat, with the addition of vitamins, trace elements, amino acids and antioxidants.

What is fishmeal and fishoil?
Fishmeal is a brown powder obtained after cooking, pressing drying and milling fresh raw fish and/or food fish trimmings. Fish oil is normally a clear brown/yellow liquid pressed form the cooked fish and normally refined.

Fishmeal and fish oil are produced from short-lived, fast-growing harvesting stocks of fish for which there is little or no demand for human consumption and some is manufactured from by-products of seafood processing companies. The whole fish are mainly small, bony and oily such as anchovy, horse mackerel, menhaden, capelin and sandeel. Main areas of catch are South Pacific and North Atlantic.

Trimmings, which are also used, now constitute around 25% of the raw material for fishmeal production. This is produced from either white-fish which is low in oil (most of the oil is in their livers) or trimmings from oily fish such as herring, mackerel, etc.

Fishmeal contains typically 60% to 72% protein, 10% to 20% ash and 5% to 12% fat, which is high in the health promoting omega-3 very long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids EPA and DHA, often referred to as ‘omega-3s’ (producers can supply details of the type of raw material used and expected nutrient content).

The high quality and concentration of essential nutrients, especially of well-balanced amino acids, essential fatty acids, and energy content makes fishmeal an indispensable ingredient in diets of most aquaculture species and many land-farm animals. Fish oil is used mainly in feed for farmed fish but is also used to make capsules containing omega-3 fatty acids as human health supplements.

Because of its high omega-3 content fishmeal is a natural ‘functional feed’ providing health and welfare benefits to livestock. Meat, milk and egg products from farmed animals fed high omega-3 fishmeal are, in turn, functional foods which benefit human health.

Regarding traceability, how is product information stored and traced in IRIDA fish feeds?
IRIDA keeps records of every input and process from raw materials purchasing to the finished product delivered. All relevant information is continuously recorded and any tracking and tracing required can be carried out rapidly. The system meets all EU legal requirements and the performance required for ISO certificates, which IRIDA has.

Safe feed is essential. Traceability in food value chains is increasingly important as customers, consumers and regulators are all more aware of, and sensitised to food safety. They want to know that if an undesirable substance is discovered, its dispersion into the food value chain can be rapidly traced and products recalled immediate to minimise any potential harm.

What does IRIDA do to monitor the presence of undesirable substances in its products? Do fish feeds contain dioxins and heavy metals?
There is a continuous concern over the potential presence in foods, including fish, of the heavy metals mercury, lead, cadmium and arsenic. These elements are present at low levels throughout the environment. IRIDA routinely monitors the fish feeds it manufactures and the raw materials used for those feeds, to make sure all are within safe and legal limits. National food safety authorities are among other substances monitoring for heavy metals in farmed seabass and seabream. The levels found are very low, and in most cases not detectable. These levels are usually lower than those found in wild catch fish due to the reduced period of time that farmed fish live in the sea and due to the low levels of Heavy Metals contained in fish feeds.
Are hormones administered to farmed seabass and sea bream?
No, not at all.

First of all it’s not technically possible to apply hormones to some billions of fish. Additionally, there is no reason to do it either for reproduction control (it’s regulated from photoperiod and temperature regimes) or for growth enhancement as normal genetic potential of fish ensures in any case fast growth, and great feed utilization.

Are antibiotics administered to farmed seabass and sea bream?
The main pharmaceutical substances used in aquaculture are for prevention and protection from disease are vaccines and immunity boosting agents.

The use of vaccines protects the welfare of the fish raised from incidents of disease thereby eliminating the need for antibiotics or other medicine.

Therefore, due to the widespread use of vaccines in aquaculture, disease is now rare and there is seldom a call for the use of other medicines.

If, however, disease occurs (especially in cases where vaccination has not taken place) only Hellenic Drug Administration – approved antibiotics are used and they are only administered subsequent to prescription by a veterinarian specializing in fish disease. Medicated feed can be produced in factories with a special license from Hellenic Drug Administration. IRIDA, however, is an antibiotic-free fish feed factory and does not produce any medicated antibiotic-containing feeds.

Nevertheless, just as in the case of other animal species aimed for consumption by humans, “waiting times” are strictly kept by the fish farming community so that fish flesh is completely devoid of even a trace of antibiotics.

Which is the policy of IRIDA regarding GMO raw materials and regarding products with origin from terrestrial animals?
All the fish feeds manufactured by IRIDA do not contain raw materials or any by-products which are genetically modified in origin and are declared as such under EU regulations (less than 0,9%).

It is also confirmed that none of our products contain any animal protein or tissues, including fats, which arise from terrestrial animals.

What is organic fish feed?
IRIDA S.A. is the first fish feed company in Greece which has been certified for Organic Fish Feed production. Certification has been awarded by BIO-HELLAS for EC Reg. 834/07 and 889/2008. All vegetable raw materials which are used arise from organic agriculture. Fishmeal and fishoil arise from sustainable resources and any antioxidants used have natural origin. It is needles to write that Organic fish feeds are GMO free according to EU regulations.
How is quality control organized in IRIDA fish feeds?
IRIDA S.A. uses NIR (Near Infra Red) technology to routinely monitor incoming raw materials and final products. By collating wet chemistry and NIR data, a dynamic and proactive tool has been developed which allows continuously monitoring of feed formulation analysis and ensures consistency in product quality at the lowest possible cost.

At the same time feed samples are analysed on a regular basis at well respected independent laboratories UKAS or similarly accredited such as:

Salamon and Seaber, UK

Eclipse, UK

Eurofins, Germany

What measures has IRIDA taken to control the sustainability of fishmeal and fishoil used?
IRIDA will only source fishmeal and fishoil from monitored fisheries certified as being sustainable. All suppliers need to be certified by IFFO for “Responsible Supply”. This certification enables a compliant factory to demonstrate that it responsibly resources its raw materials from well managed fisheries and responsibly converts that into pure and safe products.