Food Law News - UK - 2012

FSA News Item, 28 February 2012

NOVEL FOODS - Views wanted on chia seeds

The Chia Company, based in Australia, has applied to the Food Standards Agency to extend the authorisation of chia seeds, so it can market chia seeds in baked goods, breakfast cereals, and fruit, nut and seed mixes.

The Agency's expert Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP) has considered the application and views are wanted on the committee’s positive draft opinion.

The company currently has authorisation, under the novel food regulations, to market chia seeds 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 European Union 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 ACNFP, an independent committee of scientists appointed by the FSA.

Deadline for comments

The ACNFP has considered this application and has formulated a positive draft opinion. Any comments on this draft opinion should be emailed to by Friday 9 March 2012. The comments will be considered by the committee when it concludes its assessment of this novel food ingredient.

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