Chia (Salvia hispanica L) is a summer annual herbaceous plant belonging to the mint family. Chia is grown commercially in several Latin American countries and Australia, but they have not been consumed to a significant degree in Europe and therefore are considered novel.
The applicant’s 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. Teoli Mexican Specialty Foods Ltd has requested such an opinion from the UK Competent Authority on the equivalence of its chia seeds to the authorised chia seeds marketed by The Chia Company.
The ACNFP have considered this application and have formulated a positive draft opinion. Any comments on this draft opinion should be emailed to the ACNFP Secretariat by Wednesday 23 July 2015. The comments will be passed to the Committee before it finalises its assessment of this novel food ingredient.
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