Omega Protein Corporation announced that its new Health and Science Center in Reedville, Va., has been completed.
Virginia governor Mark R. Warner said, "I am delighted to have the Omega Protein Health and Science Center, which is dedicated to the enhancement of human health, located in Virginia. Placing the facility in Reedville underscores this administration's commitment to new rural development projects, as well as to the menhaden fishing industry that provides jobs for hundreds of Virginia citizens.
He continued, "The menhaden industry has enjoyed a proud tradition as part of the Northern Neck economy for over 100 years, and we are committed to ensuring its continued growth and a favorable business climate for this industry for years to come."
U.S. congresswoman Jo Ann Davis said, "Omega Protein is a vital economic contributor to our Northern Neck community and provides good jobs for families, some of whom have worked for Omega Protein for generations. Reedville is proud to be the home to this new Health and Science Center that creates products that improve the health of America."
The Health and Science Center includes a new food-grade fish oil processing facility with state-of-the-art equipment that allows the company to refine, bleach, winterize and deodorize 100% of its available menhaden fish oil from the Atlantic coast (as opposed to only 35% under the company's old facility). The new facility provides automated packaging and refrigerated on-site storage capacity. The new center also has a fully equipped lipids laboratory for research and development projects for omega-3 enriched foods.
"This new facility -- the only fully-integrated fish oil processing facility in the U.S. -- completes an important strategic need for Omega Protein because it positions us to be at the forefront of the market for healthy omega-3 fatty acids," said Joe von Rosenberg, Omega Protein president and chief executive officer. "The company's future growth will be increasingly driven by markets for omega-3 fatty acids and other refined fish oils.
"The new facility provides Omega Protein with 100% vertical integration from harvest through the complete multi-step refining process," added von Rosenberg.
At the new facility, Omega Protein will refine and manufacture OmegaPure, a taste-free, odorless fish oil containing heart-healthy long-chain omega-3s rich in EPA and DHA, which is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for inclusion in several food categories. The new facility also will produce several grades of non-human food grade oils to be used for applications such as leather chemicals, laying-hen feeds, drilling fluids and premium pet foods.