The Omega 3-rich Chia seed has finally won European Union novel foods approval — bringing to an end a six-year application process.
The European Commission granted the seed novel foods status for use in bread products at a level of 5% following the publication of a positive opinion on the safety of the ingredient by the European Food Safety Authority last March.
Dean Mosca, president of New Jersey-based Proprietary Nutritionals, which supplies the Benexia brand of Chia, said the seed was "the newest star to emerge in the world of ancient grains."
"Cultivated by the ancient Aztecs as a high-energy endurance food, Chia is one of the richest plant sources of Omega-3 fatty acids," he said. "It also contains high levels of fibre, easy-to-digest protein, amino acids, vitamins, calcium and other minerals. Plus, it offers outstanding antioxidant value: Chia has a higher ORAC value than fresh blueberries."
He added: "Adding Benexia Chia to food or beverages would give them an excellent nutritional profile without compromising taste. It incorporates easily into a variety of foods, including baked goods, snacks, bars and drink mixes."