Superfoods – do you know that chia can be illegal?

Chia, or Sage, is a grain hailed as superfood a few years ago. She entered the market from the shoe and is doing well – its availability is rising, the price is falling and hardly anyone makes a strange face when seeing a person walking with a bottle of drink in which some small black balls float.

The legality of chia seeds and their market history

Sounds silly right? I was extremely surprised when I got to the information presented by the Polish Press Agency (PAP), on which website I came across a mention of some restrictions on food law.

You can find Spanish sage in many shops, gastronomic points and places, and you will probably prepare a dish with it too. As long as you do it for your own use – revel your soul, you can act as your imagination will lead you and limit yourself only with finesse (and taste of course). However, when selling food, it is not all that simple. EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) issued an opinion in 2009 stating that the addition of whole/ground chia seeds to a meal does not carry any health risk, provided that the sage content does not exceed 5%. Thanks to this opinion, chia appeared in bakery products.

However, this is not the end, as I mentioned at the beginning, chia liked the European market. Hence, its availability has increased, and one of the British companies involved in marketing it has completed and then presented new data on the safety of its use. The European Commission, in its infinite goodness, has allowed it to be twice as high (i.e. 10%) in bakery products, cereal preparations to be used in composing breakfasts, fruit-seed-nut mixes, as well as chia as it is, provided that the daily dose should be up to 15g (this was considered a safe dose). It was 2013.

Two years later (2015) is another nod to sage – the authorization for use has been extended by the addition of juices – crazy 15g / 450ml!

Where’s the illegal collusion ?!

Let’s stop for a moment and think. In which product do you usually buy or for what dish do you use chia seeds? Yes, it’s about yoghurt. Nowhere (so far) chia seeds have been allowed as an additive to yoghurt. This does not (most likely) mean that adding a fruit salad with natural yoghurt and sage seeds threatens your health and life (hopefully, I like this combination), but it should induce producers who want to launch such products to obtain appropriate permits from imperious organs. However, remember – if you do this criminal activity at home – you are a rebel, but you do not break the law and you can slip in peacefully!