Taurine is a nutrient required in the diet of many fish species. Although taurine has traditionally been supplied to the fish via fishmeal, scrutiny over the sustainability of fishmeal as a major source of protein has pushed researchers and industry toward using alternative protein sources, such as plants. Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant supported researchers to examine information on the efficacy and safety of crystalline taurine used in fish feeds and conduct research to fill knowledge gaps. The researchers identified an opportunity to improve policies that would allow taurine to be used in fish food.
Crystalline taurine was both efficacious and safe to use in fish feeds. The FDA and the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) approved the use of taurine on Jan. 18, 2017. Feed manufacturers can now include crystalline taurine in their formulation, further reduce use of fishmeal and other animal proteins to reduce cost, and improve sustainability of their feeds. They can better compete with other feed manufacturers around the world.