IVO | FAQs
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FAQs

About IVO certification

What does IVO stand for?

International Verified Omega-3™ – an independent nonprofit organization that provides a certification program for omega-3 essential fatty acids from marine oils (fish and krill) sourced from sustainable fisheries.

What is IVO?

At its heart, the IVO certification is an edible marine-oil testing program. IVO certified products undergo a full-spectrum testing from sea-to-bottle. The required tests set new standards for quality and safety.

What does the IVO certification require?

IVO certification requires adherence to the world’s highest standards for purity and potency verification for omega-3 oils.

Who sets the IVO standards?

Various government and industry standards have been established to help ensure the safety and quality of edible marine oils, such as omega-3. In short, the IVO seal is a guarantee that the omega-3s meet or exceed all existing guidelines established by relevant government agencies and other regulatory bodies monitoring omega-3 production from fishing, to testing, processing and bottling.

Where does IVO-certified fish oil come from?

All IVO certified omega-3s must come from naturally sourced clean, cold-water ocean fish and other sustainable harvests.

What types of fish are used in IVO-certified fish oil?

Various types of fish are acceptable as long as they are naturally sourced from clean, cold ocean habitats and are fatty fish deemed to be a renewable resource.

Are there fishing restrictions for IVO certification?

Yes. The source must be wild-caught and from renewable marine sources as confirmed by these marine stewardship organizations. Every harvest must use environmentally responsible, entirely sustainable methods and put no endangered species at further risk.

Are there freshness restrictions for IVO certification?

Yes. Regardless of the marine source, the fish must be delivered whole to the processing facility, to maintain the exceptional freshness. And processing facilities must be located near the harbor so transportation time is kept to an absolute minimum.

Are there processing restrictions for IVO certification?

Yes. IVO verified products must utilize enzymatic and/or oxygen-free processing. This reduces peroxide values (indicators of freshness) to levels well below the limits set by the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3 (GOED), Health Canada’s Natural and Non-Prescription Health Product Directorate (NNHPD) and the European Pharmacopoeia Standard (EPS).

Are there manufacturing restrictions for IVO certification?

Yes. The IVO seal is awarded only to manufacturers that are vertically integrated from first catch through finished product bottling. These manufacturing practices are designed to improve the quality of the finished product.

Can IVO fish oil be manufactured in any facility?

No. To earn the IVO seal, the fish oils must be produced in dedicated fish oil refining plants operating in accordance with cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practices) and HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) regulations.

Are there licensing requirements for the processing facilities?

All IVO certified oil must be processed by a licensed fish processing facility offering certified quality and ingredient verification.

Is IVO fish oil tested for contaminants?

Extensively. Every batch of oil used in IVO verified products is tested for some 400 potential contaminants including environmental toxins, including heavy metals, dioxins and PCBs, ensuring that every IVO certified product meets or exceeds the range of international quality standards.

About IVO Purity

What are the standards for IVO purity?

To ensure quality and safety, IVO products must adhere to the stringent European Pharmacopoeia Standard, as well as the voluntary standards set by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) and the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3 (GOED). Furthermore, the Canadian Natural and Non-Prescription Health Product Directorate (NNHPD) has purity and safety requirements for all marine oil products. The IVO program testing for purity, identification and contaminants must meet or exceed all NHPD requirements and United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) guidelines.

When are quality tests performed to ensure IVO purity and safety?

For IVO certification, tests must be performed throughout the manufacturing process from harvest-to-bottle.

What contaminant tests are performed for IVO certification?

To achieve IVO certification the fish oil must be checked for contaminants such as antibiotics, arsenic, cadmium, dioxins, furans, lead, mercury, PCBs, PCDDs, PCDFs, PAHs and pesticides, to name just a few.

How are contaminant tests performed?

IVO certified omega-3 is rigorously tested on a molecular level via mass spectrometry and other advanced methods to validate purity in parts per million or even parts per billion.

How is purity maintained during concentration?

Once the oil is harvested, molecular distillation and other advanced purification methods may be used to further refine the oil and remove the already low levels of any contaminants.

Is radiation a concern in ocean fish?

Due to the prevailing ocean currents and the low concentration of radioactive compounds reaching the cold-water habitats where IVO fish are sourced, there appears to be little or no risk for radiation contamination at this time. However, IVO certification requires monitoring for radioactive elements nonetheless.

Are there manufacturing requirements for preserving freshness?

Yes. Nitrogen or vacuum processing can protect the quality of fish oil from the oxidative rancidity that can lead to a fishy smell and taste.

Are there tests for freshness in addition to smell?

Tests for peroxide values are indicators of freshness. To get IVO approval, the peroxide values must be below the limits set by Health Canada’s Natural and Non-Prescription Health Products Directorate (NNHPD), the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3 (GOED), and the European Pharmacopoeia Standard (EPS).

About IVO Potency

What is the IVO potency promise?

All IVO certified products must meet the highest IVO standards for quality, potency, and value for their type and intended use.

What is the standard for IVO potency?

The standard is simple: To earn the IVO seal, the raw product must test to the highest quality standard of EPA/DHA possible.

How is IVO potency measured?

To achieve IVO certification, the omega-3s EPA/DHA actually found in the bottle must also test at equal or greater in potency to whatever is stated on the label.

What concentration techniques are allowed to increase potency?

IVO permits manufacturers to use advanced concentration techniques such as the Supercritical Fluid Technology to ensure the maximum amount of EPA/DHA potency will remain until the expiration date.

About IVO Sustainability

What does IVO sustainability mean?

IVO “certified sustainable” means all fish come from wild-caught and sustainable sources to ensure biodiversity as certified by Friend of the Sea, Marine Stewardship Council, Ocean Wise or other designated marine stewardship organizations.

Are there restrictions on IVO catches?

Yes, several. But generally speaking, every catch must be environmentally responsible and put no endangered species at further risk.

Does IVO approval put restrictions on fishing practices?

The product must be sourced only from approved marine species that are wild-caught from sustainable harvests.

Do the regulations monitor overfishing?

To prevent overfishing, a full 100% of the source must be harvested in compliance with well-managed fishery practices.

Does IVO certification promote the protection of marine mammals?

Yes. To protect against accidental catches of any unintended species, the source must be harvested using purse seine nets, sorting grids, and large meshes. Illegal marine mammal by-catch is strictly prohibited.

Does IVO certification promote habitat protection?

Yes. To prevent damage to the ecosystem, neither trawling nor dredging fishing methods are permitted.

Does IVO certification consider pollution concerns?

Yes. Approved processing facilities must conserve resources and minimize marine pollution from runoff, sewage and waste.