Safety of chia seeds (Salvia hispanica L.) as a novel food for extended uses pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2015/2283
Following a request from the European Commission, the EFSA Panel on Nutrition, Novel foods and Food Allergens (NDA) was asked to deliver an opinion on overall safety assessment for chia seeds (Salvia hispanica L.) as a novel food (NF) pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2015/2283 in the light of the increasing dietary intake from the growing number of authorised uses in recent years. The safety assessment of this NF is based on data supplied in seven applications, previous safety assessments of chia seeds and information retrieved from an extensive literature search done by EFSA. Since none of the applications addressed the possible formation of process contaminants, the present assessment is limited to those proposed extended uses which do not raise safety concerns regarding the formation of such contaminants. These include the use of whole and ground chia seeds added to chocolate, fruit spreads, fruit desserts, mixed fruit with coconut milk in twin pot, fruit‐preparations to underlay a dairy product, fruit‐preparations to be mixed with dairy products, confectionary (excluding chewing gums), dairy products and analogues, edible ices, fruit and vegetables products, non‐alcoholic beverages and compotes from fruit and/or vegetables and/or with cereals. In addition, this assessment also concerns uses of chia seeds without specific restrictions and precautions regarding their use levels in other foods which usually do not include heat treatment during processing and cooking. Apart from allergenicity, the Panel did not identify any hazard which causes safety concerns. Lacking the basis and need to establish safe maximum intake levels for chia seeds, no exposure assessment was conducted. The Panel concludes that chia seeds are safe under the assessed conditions of use.