A company has asked the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) expert advisers on novel foods to consider approving chia seeds for use in the European Union under the simplified approval procedure.

Views are wanted on the independent expert committee’s draft opinion.

Andean Grain Products is requesting an opinion from the FSA on the ‘equivalence’ of its chia seeds, which are grown in regions of South America.

The European Novel Foods Regulation includes a simplified approval procedure for when a company believes its novel food is substantially equivalent to a food that is already on the market. In that situation, an applicant can submit a notification to the European Commission after obtaining an opinion on equivalence from an EU member state.

A novel food is a food or food ingredient that does not have a significant history of consumption within the European Union before 15 May 1997.

Before any new food product can be introduced on the European market it must be rigorously assessed for safety. In the UK, the assessment of novel foods is carried out by the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP), an independent committee of scientists appointed by the FSA.

Comments should be emailed to the ACNFP secretariat at acnfp@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk by 23 July.