Alltech collaborates to enrich eggs to offset selenium deficiency in Mongolia
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia — Tumen Shuvuut, one of the two largest layer companies in Mongolia, will begin marketing selenium-enriched eggs made with Sel-Plex® organic selenium to Mongolian consumers nationwide.
In a joint press conference with the Public Health Institute of Mongolia held on Nov. 22 in Ulaanbaatar, Tumen Shuvuut said the company is launching its selenium egg to help alleviate a persistent selenium deficiency in the Mongolian diet, which was identified in a recent study by the country’s Ministry of Health. The new product will be available in supermarkets and other retail outlets beginning in December. Alltech will continue to provide technical and other assistance to Tumen Shuvuut as they introduce this first-ever selenium-enriched egg to be marketed in Mongolia.
Due to variances in mineral levels in Mongolia’s soil, many Mongolians have micronutrient deficiencies in their diets that can cause health challenges at all stages of life. One of the most critical of these deficiencies is related to selenium. The Mongolia Ministry of Health and the Public Health Institute of Mongolia have identified selenium deficiency as a serious health threat and have called for increasing the population’s selenium intake through enriched foods.
Selenium, which is nutritionally essential for humans, is a constituent of more than two dozen selenoproteins that play critical roles in reproduction, thyroid hormone metabolism, DNA synthesis and protection from oxidative damage and infection. The selenium enrichment process takes place when an animal is fed with an approved source of organic selenium, providing natural enrichment of the food product.
“Based on trials conducted with our flock using Sel-Plex, the research reports showed that the 0.5-ppm enriched eggs were more likely to offset the selenium deficiency in the Mongolian population,” said Mr. Bold Jigjid, CEO of Tumen Shuvuut LLC. “We were very satisfied with the outcome of the trial with Alltech, and we look forward to producing eggs that will benefit the Mongolian people.
“Working with Alltech, we wish to deliver a positive message about the benefits of selenium to the general public,” continued Jigjid. “Consumers are demanding better food, and partnering with Alltech allows us to deliver enriched foods. We want consumers to understand how important selenium is for the human body.”
“Selenium levels decrease with aging, and the selenium deficiency in Mongolia is particularly prevalent among the elderly,” added Dr. Jamayan Batjargal, director of the Food Research Center at the Public Health Institute of Mongolia. “Therefore, Mongolia needs to produce functional food, which is enriched with selenium, and put more effort into providing food supplements that contain selenium to high-risk groups. Government policies must support using selenium-enriched foods.”
Also participating in the press conference, Mongolian Minister of Health Dr. Tsogtsetseg Ayush commented on the health challenges from Mongolia’s micronutrient deficit and expressed strong support for Tumen Shuvuut’s selenium-enriched eggs.
“Minerals and some microelements play essential roles in human health,” said Ayush. “However, today we are facing a problem of how to ensure sufficient intake given low levels found in the environment. I very much appreciate Tumen Shuvuut LLC for conducting research of a functional food that can improve the health status of the Mongolian population, and I am glad to hear that selenium-enriched eggs will be available on supermarket shelves. We will cooperate with Tumen Shuvuut on this project hereafter.”
Addressing the press conference in Ulaanbaatar, Dr. Mark Lyons, Alltech global vice president and head of Greater China, noted that Alltech has been working on the enrichment of food products with Sel-Plex for more than 15 years.
“Our organic form of selenium is able to support the immune system of the animal during production while also differentiating the final product in the market and contributing to human health,” said Lyons. “We are delighted to work with Tumen Shuvuut and to have the opportunity to highlight the benefits of selenium-enriched foods in Mongolia.”
Alltech is working with nearly 60 companies around the globe to enrich food products in the areas of dairy, beef, pork, poultry and pet food.