EU Increases Chia Maximum for Food Products

February 5, 2013

Now, European formulators can make products with twice as much chia.

The European Commission ruled on January 22, 2013, to increase the allowable inclusion rate for chia seeds (Salvia hispanica) in various food products, and to allow the sale of prepackaged chia seeds throughout Europe.

Chia seeds first gained their EU “novel food ingredient” status in 2009; at the time, they were granted a maximum usage level of 5% of finished products. But, after some petitioning from The Chia Company in Australia, the United Kingdom’s food assessment body approved a request to double the maximum inclusion rate to 10% of finished products, including baked products, breakfast cereals, and fruit, nut, and seed mixes. In January, the EC approved this 10% inclusion rate. The decision also approves the sale of prepackaged chia seeds with a recommended daily intake to not exceed 15 g.

Initial concerns about a lack of toxicology data around chia consumption were abated once The Chia Company provided satisfactory explanation to the Commission and EU Member States.

Chia is a member of the mint (Lamiaceae) family. Its seeds are high in fiber, omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid, protein, and various minerals.