The 13th of February saw a watershed moment in CBD regulation with the Food Standards Authority (FSA) launched a press release declaring that CBD-infused foods are improperly authorised.
This sent industry veterans and consumers alike into a panic with many unsure about the fate of the product. We were left asking how exactly did this come about, and what does it mean for regular CBD users?
IS THE UK BANNING CBD?
Released as their first official announcement about CBD products, the FSA produced the response to forewarn consumers, stockists and producers alike – cautioning that non-compliant CBD goods could potentially be stripped from shelves.
Their decision appears to have been taken in direct response to businesses failing to register their products within the UK – effectively forcing their hand to guarantee compliance. The release specifically orders businesses to tender their infused products for regulation by March of next year or see them banned from stores.
By ‘authorisation’, this means deploying an array of fully vetted production methods. This includes their listed end-uses, safety methods and procedures, and more. Where this is not possible, the institution will decide on an ad-hoc basis to ensure full compliance with its established protocols. However, this will only be applied when elements like trade secrets, confidentiality, and other steps are required.
In their release, the FSA also highlighted that CBD products should not be consumed by pregnant women and that individuals should not consume more than 70mg per day.
WHY DID THIS HAPPEN?
Primarily, this is due to CBD products being classed as what the institution deems ‘novel foods’. These are products that do not have a history of consumption by individuals living in the EU before 1997.
In order to fit into this category, a product has to possess one of the following characteristics:
New Foods: These are edible products that simply have not existed before, such as cholesterol-reducing spreads that use elements like phytosterols.
Extrinsic Foods: These are foods that are traditionally eaten in regions outside of the EU and may not be subject to the usual regulations and processes, such as products like chia seeds or baobab.
Innovative Products: These are foods or products that utilise new technology or procedures in their creation such as the application of UV light or addition of chemicals.
Under these classifications, CBD is deemed novel; while oils were used for consumption pre-’97, the use of CBD isolate in particular is officially recognised as a new and separate product.
Precautionary in measure, the novel foods classification allows a product to be classed as safe, so consumers can enjoy it without worry. Under their categorisation, CBD was recognised as a novel food in January of 2019 – leading many observers to predict the changes of the 13th February well in advance.
While the process is ongoing, this is very much a standard step in a highly regimented system. Once evidence is provided by institutions selling the products, the next course of action will be to review it and make a decision about what changes need to be made and indeed if the product is viable to be stocked on shelves.
HOW DO I KNOW MY CBD IS SAFE?
Choosing a reliable provider will ensure that any products and supplements contain CBD. Any seller should adhere to the established standards and display their commitment on their website or on promotional materials.
Of course, it is important to listen to any recommendations and the FDA’s statement that the products should not be used while expecting or exceeding the daily recommended use. If the status of CBD changes, we will remove affected products from our line, provide a response, and seek fully compliant products from other providers.
Until then, we can assure you that all of our CBD products are compliant, legal and above all else, safe.
WHAT SHOULD I DO ABOUT BUYING CBD?
As the deadline for a response from the industry is listed as March of next year, there is no need to immediately panic.
However, if you are concerned about being able to access the supplement, there are a range of options available to you. This can take the form of trying alternative methods of delivery such as oils, capsules, and other alternatives. Or you can consider buying products in bulk, but this appears to be very much an overreaction at this point in time.
Fortunately, if you take medically prescribed CBD or cannabis products, this ruling will not affect you and you can rest easy.
If you want to stay updated about the decision, we provide updates about compliance in our regularly updated blog or newsletter. For any questions or queries, you can get in touch with our team directly.