Chia Seeds (BetterBody Foods)

Last updated:
28 June 2017
June 2017: BetterBody Foods is requesting an opinion from the Food Standards Agency on the "equivalence" of its chia seeds, which are grown in particular regions of South America with the chia seeds marketed by The Chia Company that are grown in Australia. Under Evaluation.

Chia is a summer annual herbaceous plant belonging to the mint family. It grows from a seedling to develop lush green foliage before it produces long flowers which are either purple or, less commonly, which . These flowers develop into seed pods to produce chia seeds. Although chia is grown commercially in several Latin American countries and Australia, the seeds have not been consumed to a significant degree in Europe.

The applicants chia seeds will be used in the same products as those for which approval has been granted for The Chia Company's seeds (bread products, breakfast cereal, fruit, nut and seed mixes and bread and 100% packaged chia seeds).

Regulation (EC) 258/97 makes provision for novel foods or ingredients that are substantially equivalent to an existing product to be placed on the market once the applicant has informed the European Commission. In all cases to date, the Commission has required that the applicant first obtains an opinion on substantial equivalence from a Member State. BetterBody Foods has requested such an opinion from the UK Competent Authority on the equivalence of its chia seeds to The Chia Company's chia seeds.

On 23 June 2016 the EU referendum took place and  the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. Until exit negotiations are concluded the UK remains a full member of the European Union and all the rights and obligations of EU membership remain in force. During this period the Government will continue to negotiate, implement and apply EU legislation. The Government, under the Prime Minister, has begun negotiations to exit the EU. The outcome of these negotiations will determine what arrangements apply in relation to EU legislation and funding in future once the UK has left the EU.

The ACNFP has considered this application and have formulated a positive draft opinion. Any comments on this draft opinion should be emailed to the ACNFP Secretariat at acnfp@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk by 25 August 2017. The comments will be passed to the Committee to inform its assessment of this novel food ingredient.

All views/comments received by the Food Standards Agency will be made available for public examination as part of the Committees consideration of the application. If you would prefer your comments not to be made publicly available, please indicate this in your response