The Food Standards Agency is reminding the CBD industry that they must submit novel food applications for validation in order to continue to sell their products in England and Wales. CBD products are not currently authorised so the deadline was imposed to move the industry towards compliance with novel food regulations.
Applications will be subject to an 8-day admin check, and it can then take up to 30 working days for an application to be validated. These validated applications will then continue through an authorisation process that ensures novel foods meet legal standards, including on safety and content.
Local authorities enforce novel food legislation. They have been advised that only products that were on sale at the time of the FSA’s deadline announcement (13 February 2020) and are linked to a validated novel foods application should remain on sale from 1 April 2021.
Emily Miles, Chief Executive of the Food Standards Agency, said:
‘CBD products have been widely available on the high street for some time, but we think it is really important that people who choose to buy CBD products know that they are being checked for safety.
‘In February 2020, we asked the CBD industry to provide more information about the safety and contents of these products. Many novel food applications have already been received but we know there are more to come. With the deadline fast approaching, I would encourage all businesses to submit their applications in good time.
‘From 1 April 2021, businesses will be advised to remove products which do not meet the criteria from sale.’
Based on recommendations from the Committee on Toxicity, the FSA advises that, as a precaution, those who are pregnant, breastfeeding or taking any medication do not to consume CBD products. Healthy adults are also advised to think carefully before taking CBD, and the FSA recommends no more than 70mg a day (about 28 drops of 5% CBD) unless under medical direction.
What is CBD?
CBD is a chemical found naturally within the cannabis plant, it has only very recently been removed and sold as a separate CBD extract. CBD extracts can be found in a range of products such as oils, confectionery, bakery products and drinks.
CBD was confirmed as a novel food product in January 2019. Under the novel food regulations, foods or food ingredients which do not have a history of consumption before May 1997 must be evaluated and authorised by the food safety regulator before they can be placed on the market.
The FSA is responsible for regulating CBD as a novel food. This does not include cosmetics, vapes, products making medicinal claims or products containing controlled drugs such as THC.
Novel food authorisation
Businesses wishing to sell their products in Britain should submit their novel food applications via the new Regulated Products system which is jointly operated by the Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland.
The Northern Ireland Protocol outlines the EU law that applies in Northern Ireland. This includes novel foods regulations and businesses wishing to sell CBD products in Northern Ireland should continue to submit novel food authorisation applications to the European Commission.
The FSA is the government department with the policy responsibility for food safety in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, however local authorities are responsible for the day to day enforcement of novel food regulations. The FSA issues guidance to support consistency in approach, but ultimately it is for local authorities to make specific enforcement decisions based on the facts of individual cases and circumstances.