Food Law News - UK - 2011

FSA News Item, 9 May 2011

NOVEL FOODS - Views wanted on chia seeds

The Chia Company, based in Australia, has applied to the Food Standards Agency for approval to market chia seed in baked goods, breakfast cereals, and fruit, nut and seed mixes. The company currently has authorisation, under the novel food regulations, to market chia seed in bread products at a maximum level of 5%.

Chia (also known as Salvia hispanica) is a summer annual herbaceous plant belonging to the mint family. Chia is grown commercially in several Latin American countries and Australia, but the chia seed has not been consumed to a significant degree in the EU and is therefore considered to be a novel food.

About novel foods

A novel food is a food or food ingredient that does not have a significant history of consumption within the European Union before 15 May 1997.

Before any new food product can be introduced on the European market, it must be assessed rigorously for safety. In the UK, the assessment of novel foods is carried out by the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP), an independent committee of scientists appointed by the Food Standards Agency.

Deadline for comments

Any comments on the application should be emailed to the ACNFP secretariat at by Monday 30 May 2011. The comments will be considered by the committee during its assessment of this novel food ingredient.

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