Chia Oil Awaits UK Novel Food Approval

June 25, 2013

The oil is produced through cold-pressing of chia seeds.

The United Kingdom’s Advisory Committee on Novel Foods & Processes (ACNFP) is considering a novel food application for chia oil and will accept public comments until July 1, 2013. Chia oil is made by cold-pressing chia seeds. The resulting oil is rich in alpha-linolenic acid and can be marketed as an alternative to other vegetable oils, such as canola oil or flax oil.

Benexia chia products marketer Functional Products Trading SA (Santiago, Chile) filed the chia oil application. The company’s case is supported by the fact that chia seeds hold EU novel food status and now enjoy a higher usage rate in EU food products.

As far as its application suggests, the company intends to market its chia oil for finished oil products, non-alcoholic beverages (e.g. fruit and juice mixes), and food supplements. For an idea of how to market chia oil, see the descriptions in the application.

The ACNFP has already draft an opinion on chia oil, which recognizes the data provided on historical international use and safety of chia oil, but the ACNFP seems caught up with the potential of increased chia allergies:

 

The Committee again highlighted the relative absence of studies defining the extent to which seed allergic individuals might react to chia seeds. Such data could be useful in determining whether increasing use of chia seed, and derived products such as the oil, would restrict the choice of seed allergic individuals. The Committee also notes that chia seeds have little history of consumption in the European Union and it was therefore possible that extending the range of uses could, like any novel food containing new proteins, give rise to increased sensitisation in a wider population.

 

Functional Trading Products has requested a “high level of consumption” for its chia oil at 2.5 g daily, equating to 6–7 g of seeds. The Benexia chia line includes chia fiber and chia seeds. Benexia products are available to U.S. customers through Pharmachem Laboratories (Kearny, NJ).