More chia regulatory approval sought in Europe

by Jeff Gelski
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LONDON — While chia seeds appear in new products in the United States, chia suppliers seek regulatory approval in Europe for the development of such products.

The Food Standards Agency of the United Kingdom on June 7 said it was seeking views on a draft opinion from the F.S.A.’s expert advisers on novel foods. The opinion involves an application from Infoods Ltd., Leicester, United Kingdom, for chia seeds (Salvia hispanica) to be approved for use in the European Union under a simplified approval procedure. A “novel food” is a food or food ingredient that does not have a significant history of consumption within the European Union before May 15, 1997.

Infoods sought an opinion on the equivalence of their chia seeds, which are grown in South America, with chia seeds grown in Australia and marketed by The Chia Co., Melbourne, Australia. The Chia Co. on April 14, 2011, requested the use of its chia seeds as a novel food ingredient in Europe. The “Official Journal of the European Union” on Jan. 22, 2013, authorized The Chia Co.’s request. The authorization required additional labeling to inform consumers that daily intake of chia seed is no more than 15 grams.

Chia seeds are known for their levels of fiber, protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Recent new products in the U.S. market that include chia seed as an ingredient include tortilla chips, pudding, popcorn, crisps and beverages.

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