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Something's Fishy About That Lipstick

OSLO (Reuters) - That lipstick you're dabbing on for tonight's big Valentine's date may have a bit more to it than meets the eye.

A Norwegian biotech company said Thursday that it sees a booming business in providing cod sperm for use in cosmetics.

Maritex, among the world's largest producers of cod liver oil, said it aimed to produce seven tones of processed cod sperm in 2002 for the international makeup market after pilot output in 2001.

But don't worry that your loved one will think there's something fishy about your kisses.

"It neither smells nor tastes of anything," said Frank Hansen, a biotech engineer at Maritex, which believes it is the world's main producer of cod sperm for cosmetics. The sperm is used to bind water in body lotions and make-up.

"It is much better to make a water binder from a natural product than to concoct a chemical cocktail to do the same job," Hansen said. He added that cod sperm extract was also used in medicines and breast milk substitutes.

Processed cod sperm sells for around $200 a kilogram (2.2 pounds), depending on its purity, Hansen said.

So the next time you go get a kiss think about this!

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