A statement has been issued by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) saying that the CBD industry has until 31st March 2021 to submit valid novel food authorisation applications. After that date on products that have submitted a valid application will be allowed to remain on the market. This move ensures that novel foods meet legal standards.
Emily Miles, chief executive of the Food Standards Agency says:
"CBD products are widely available on the high street but are not properly authorised. The CBD industry must provide more information about the safety and contents of these products to the regulator before 31 March 2021, or the products will be taken off the shelves."
CBD was confirmed as a novel food in January 2019 and The Novel Foods Catalogue was updated accordingly. The Novel Foods Catalogue is a method of recording decisions made on the novel food status of foods and food supplements, it is not a legal status. It is the decisions made by the European Commission, whom use the catalogue as a tool, that have the legal status.
It is important to note here that hemp and related products, such as cold-pressed oils, are not novel because there is evidence to show a history of consumption before May 1997, whereas this is not the case for CBD extracts.
Local authorities have been advised that businesses can continue to sell their existing CBD products during this time, provided they are not incorrectly labelled, are not unsafe and do not contain substances that fall under drugs legislation. However, no new CBD extracts or isolates should be sold until they have the necessary authorisation.
Once a CBD product is authorised that authorisation applies to that product only. This means using the same detailed production methods, for the exact same uses as described within the authorisation, and using the same safety evidence base. Where a business buys CBD products from others, they must ensure these products are correctly authorised, and that they only use them in ways described in the authorisation.
The FSA's announcement concerns CBD extracts applying in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The FSA made it clear that this latest news will have no impact on those who take medically prescribed CBD or cannabis.