BCL partner John Binns and senior associate David Hardstaff write for Cannabis Wealth discussing the regulatory landscape in the UK following the EFSA’s decision to pause all novel foods evaluations for CBD products.
Here is a short extract from the article*. If you wish to read the full article, please visit Cannabis Wealth website.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has dealt a blow to the European and UK CBD industries, identifying several hazards related to CBD intake and pointing out deficiencies in both the experimental animal and human research data.
The EFSA’s ‘Statement on safety of cannabidiol as a novel food: data gaps and uncertainties’ is intended to ensure the ‘harmonised scientific assessment’ of novel foods in the EU.
However, its findings primarily highlight a lack of sufficient evidence needed to fully assess the safety of CBD as a food. Whilst the findings are not binding on UK regulators, the beleaguered UK CBD industry must now brace itself for its inevitable fallout.
An industry under fire
Although no longer a member of the EU, the UK continues to align with its Novel Food Regulation; and so, whilst not determinative, the findings of the EFSA are likely to concern UK regulators grappling with the CBD issue.
UK-based CBD companies had already been feeling bruised prior to the release of the EFSA’s statement. From operating within a light-touch regulatory regime, founded on the belief that CBD products were no different to any other readily available food supplement, the closing drawbridge that was the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) novel food application process has been a shock to the industry’s system.
The process, which required non-medicinal CBD products to be the subject of an application for authorisation, has caused a stir within UK CBD businesses and exposed brands’ reliance on white label goods. This has left many querying the real value behind some of the celebrity-endorsed brands vying for a piece of the UK’s CBD landscape.
The longer-term consequences are unclear.
When announcing the publication of its list of products which have submitted a valid novel food application, the FSA confirmed the role of enforcement authorities and that it had recommended to local authorities that any products not on the list should be withdrawn from the market. Such products would be deemed ‘unsuitable for progressing to authorisation’, or in other words, unsellable.
* This article was first published by Cannabis Wealth on 28 June 2022. If you wish you read the full article please visit Cannabis Wealth website.