According to the ruling, the omega-3 rich chia oil can now be incorporated into a range of food and beverage applications replacing up to 10% of plant oils and in food supplements (2g/day). The Benexia oil is distributed in Europe by Ingredia Nutritional, the company that first brought chia seeds to Europe.
The decision was made at the standing committee on plants, animals, food and feed held in Brussels on 17 October 2014. The report from the meeting stated: “The Commission representative presented the draft Implementing Decision to authorise chia oil (Salvia hispanica) as a novel food ingredient.”
The following vote gave the positive opinion authorising the chia oil to be used in the European market as a novel food ingredient under Regulation (EC) No 258/97.
“This decision has opened a new doors for us, for example the supplement market as for example the chia seeds can’t be included in dietary supplements,” said Aurelie Vromaine, product manager at Ingredia.
A long process
“We knew for several months that it was going to get the approval as we already got the positive opinion from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in the UK, so it was just the formality to get the green light from other countries,” said Vromaine.
“We are very happy that we finally got the positive opinion, as we’ve worked on it for the last 2.5 years. Now if any competitors would like to follow us they would have to file a dossier, which usually takes about a year, so we need to make the most of this time,” she added.
Benexia chia oil is obtained through the cold pressing of the seed and is free from contaminants, claims the company.