Where’s the data? Chia seeds all the rage, but are they microbiologically safe?

The Food Network, which always trumpets porn over safety, is jumping on the chia seed gush-fest.

But we can’t find any safety data.

Chapman wrote about it last month, the UK Food Standards Agency has at least asked for comment before approving chia seed as a food, and the rest is gush.

It’s one thing to sprout seed on a Mr. T head; it’s another to put it in a shake. Are there food grade standards for edible chia? If it’s anything like sprouts, the seeds are the problem, originating who-knows-where, and with a potential to wreak microbiological havoc.

J.M. Hirsch, the national food editor for The Associated Press, writes for the Food Network blog that, “chia seeds — which are a relative of sage — resemble poppy seeds, but have a nuttier, less assertive flavor. They have gobs of fiber and a fair amount of protein.

"The seeds were a staple of the Aztecs, who roasted and ground the seeds, then mixed them with water to form a porridge or a meal for making cakes.

"Chia seeds’ reputation for providing sustained energy — as well as plenty of nutrients — more recently have turned them into the darling of the fitness world.

"They also have shown up in a growing number of products in natural foods shops, from protein bars and baked goods to drinks such as kombucha.”

And so on. It’s up to proponents to provide the microbiological data to support safety.