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Jatropha curcas: a safe novel food according to EFSA

Jatropha curcas is a plant belonging to the Euphorbiaceae family. The kernel of the plant is well-known to be toxic, due to the presence of phorbol esters. In 2016, the company JatroSolutions GmbH submitted a request for a novel food approval in accordance with Regulation (EC) 258/97 in order to place edible J. curcas kernel as a novel food ingredient.

EFSA a published its scientific opinion almost 6 years later. The applicant proposes to consumption of kernels (whole or fragment) as a snack or a food ingredient. To ensure the safety of the ingredient, phorbol esters are assessed in all batches. EFSA used a conservative scenario for the exposure calculation to phorbol esters, considering that all kernels contain phorbol esters at the level of detection. With this method, the safety margin was greater than 900, and EFSA estimated that this margin is sufficiently large to ensure the lack of safety. Consequently, EFSA concludes that the novel food is safe under the proposed conditions of use.

EFSA NDA Panel (EFSA Panel on Nutrition, Novel Foods, Food Allergens), Turck D, Bohn T, Castenmiller J, De Henauw S, Hirsch-Ernst KI, Maciuk A, Mangelsdorf I, McArdle HJ, Naska A, Pelaez C, Pentieva K, Siani A, Thies F, Tsabouri S, Vinceti M, Cubadda F, Frenzel T, Heinonen M, Marchelli R, Neuhauser-Berthold M, Poulsen M, Prieto Maradona M, Schlatter JR, van Loveren H, Colombo P and Knutsen HK, 2022. Scientific Opinion on the safety of hydrothermally treated kernels from edibleJatropha curcas L. (Chuta) as a novel food pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2015/2283. EFSAJournal 2022;20(1):6998