Chia Oil. EC No. 143

January 2013: Application from Functional Products Trading SA (Chile) for the authorisation of chia oil, (oil from Salvia hispanica L) under the Novel Food Regulation (EC) 258/97. Status: Authorised.


This is the first application for the use of chia oil but the ACNFP has previously considered two applications for the authorisation of chia seeds, which are the source of chia oil, in several food categories. Chia oil contains significant quantities of alpha linolenic acid and linoleic acid which are polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Chia oil is obtained from Chia by cold-pressing process. Chia (Salvia hispanica L.) is a yearly herbaceous plant of the mint family (Labiatae). It is native to southern Mexico and northern Guatemala and is grown to produce oil for human consumption. Chia seed contains about 250–390 g oil/kg of fresh matter. 

Legal Background

Before a novel food can be marketed legally in EU it requires a pre-market safety assessment under the Novel Food Regulation (EU) 2015/2283, previously 258/97 (EC). This is the Regulation establishes the legal basis for novel foods and the process for submitting a novel food authorisation(s).

One of the major changes under the revised Regulation, was the centralisation of the authorisation process at the EU level. Prior to this, applications for new novel foods were underwent initial assessment in a Member State to achieve an EU wide authorisation. This application was received by the UK under Regulation 258/97 EC and was assessed by our independent experts the Advisory Committee on novel foods and processes.

Application Status: Authorised

On 12 November 2012, the company Functional Products Trading S.A. made a request to place chia oil (Salvia hispanica) on the market as a novel food ingredient to be used in vegetable oils and as a food supplement. This was assessed under regulation 258/97 (EC).

The Committee completed its assessment and published its positive opinion. This opinion was shared with the other Member States resulting in the product being authorised by the EU subject to the conditions specified in the authorisation.