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Traditional food from third country: negative opinion from EFSA on roasted seeds from Sacha Inchi (Plukenetia volubilis L.)

The regulation (UE) 2015/2283 on Novel Foods has open the possibility to submit applications to obtain the authorization for Novel Foods consumed traditionally in third countries. While Sacha Inchi oil has been authorized through the standard Novel Food procedure, roasted seeds are not authorized to date. An application has been therefore submitted in November 2019 to obtain an authorization for roasted seeds from P. volubilis.

While the available data clearly demonstrates the traditional consumption of roasted seeds in South America for more than 25 years, EFSA investigated the composition of seeds, and notably the presence of compounds with potential safety concerns. The experts noted that the analytical methods used for the characterization of roasted seeds are insufficiently described and may be therefore not appropriate to well characterize the Novel Food. Moreover, the lack of information on the type of alkaloids that may be present in the traditional food is problematic for EFSA.

The experts considered therefore that the traditional food may pose a safety risk to human health and raised therefore safety objections to the placing on the market within the UE of roasted seeds from P. volubilis.

EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), 2020. Technical Report on the notification of roasted seeds from Plukenetia volubilis L. as a traditional food from a third country pursuant to Article 14 of Regulation (EU) 2015/2283. EFSA supporting publication 2020:EN-1817.