Cannabidiol (CBD) products could be removed from stores in the UK if they do not meet a new deadline set by the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA).
The FSA has set a deadline of 31 March 2021 for businesses selling products containing CBD to submit valid novel food authorisation applications to ensure the safety of their products.
Only products which have submitted a valid application will be allowed to remain on the market in England, Wales and Northern Ireland beyond this date.
In addition, the agency has released new advice which recommends that ‘vulnerable groups’ – such as consumers who are pregnant, breastfeeding or taking any medication – do not consume products containing CBD, while recommending that healthy adults take no more than 70mg a day unless under medical direction.
Despite rising sales of CBD products such as CBD oil, snacks and drinks, no products containing CBD are currently approved by the FSA, raising concerns about the safety of CBD products.
CBD was confirmed as a novel food product by the FSA in January 2019. Under the novel food regulations, foods or food ingredients which do not have a history of consumption before May 1997 should be evaluated and authorised before they are placed on the market.
Local authorities enforce the novel food legislation, and they have been advised that businesses should be able to sell their existing CBD products between now and the deadline, provided they are not incorrectly labelled, are not unsafe to eat and do not contain substances that fall under drugs legislation.
Today’s announcement by the FSA on CBD extracts only applies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, as novel food regulations in Scotland are handled independently by Food Standards Scotland
Emily Miles, CEO of the Food Standards Agency, said: “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.
“Also today, we are advising that CBD could be risky for vulnerable groups, and suggesting an upper limit of 70mg a day for everyone else taking the product.
“The actions that we’re taking today are a pragmatic and proportionate step in balancing the protection of public health with consumer choice. It’s now up to industry to supply this information so that the public can be reassured that CBD is safe and what it says it is.”
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