UK-based Nutrisure submitted it application for chia seed approval within the EU to the FSA's expert advisers on novel foods (ACNFP panel) under the simplified 'substantial equivalence' approval procedure.
In its application (found here) the firm produce data to show that its chia seeds, which are grown in particular regions of South America, is equivalent to already approved chia seeds marketed by The Chia Company, which are grown in Australia.
If approved, Nutrisure's chia seeds will be used in bread and bread products, breakfast cereal, fruit, nut and seed mixes and 100% packaged chia seeds. Approval was granted for The Chia Company’s seeds to be used in these products earlier this year.
The ACNFP has now published a positive draft opinion (found here) which concluded: "The Committee concluded that Nutrisure Ltd has demonstrated the equivalence of their chia seed with the existing chia seed according to the criteria set out in Article 3(4) of the Novel Foods Regulation (EC) 258/97."
The draft opinion noted minor differences in the nutritional content of the seeds, noting that this was "likely to be due to differing growing conditions and agreed that that the data provided were sufficient to conclude that Nutrisure’s Argentinian chia seed and the Australian chia seed show that they have an equivalent composition."
All comments should be emailed to the ACNFP Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday 24 December 2013 and will be passed to the committee when it concludes its assessment of the novel food ingredient.