Embracing the ‘Art of the Possible’ in Novel Food Regulation – David Hardstaff & John Binns write for Food Navigator

Embracing the ‘Art of the Possible’ in Novel Food Regulation – David Hardstaff & John Binns write for Food Navigator

BCL partners David Hardstaff and John Binns have written for Food Navigator discussing how a high-profile investigation into banned muscle-building drugs highlights the issues with the novel food regime impacting the CBD industry.

Here is a short extract from the article*. If you wish to read the full article, please visit Food Navigator.

‘A recent BBC investigation into banned muscle-building drugs, selective androgen receptor modulators (Sarms), highlights the need for a clearer and more dynamic novel foods regime.

It seems help might be at hand in the form of a report commissioned by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), which proposes, amongst other models, the complete dismantling of the current system . The challenges are great as the lines between food, medicine, and technology become increasingly blurred. Is the FSA really up to demonstrating the “art of the possible” in terms of how the Novel Foods Regulatory Framework could be improved?

The FSA has categorised Sarms as unauthorised novel foods amidst concerns that the drugs can cause a wide range of adverse side effects. Favoured by bodybuilders and weightlifters, Sarms are claimed to mimic the effects of anabolic steroids, potentially increasing muscle mass and strength. However, despite restrictions on their sale, they have been openly sold online, in shops, and in gyms throughout the UK.

The BBC’s investigation highlights both a lack of understanding on the part of potential consumers, and evidence that suppliers of Sarms are misleading users, whether intentionally or through ignorance, as to their risks.’

* This article was first published by Food Navigator on 14 July 2023.


John Binns is a specialist in proceeds of crime laws, cannabis regulation, sanctions, and tax investigations. He has extensive experience in financial crime, which also involves bribery and corruption, extradition, Interpol, fraud, market abuse, and the conduct of related civil proceedings. He is a prolific writer and speaker on a variety of topics.

David Hardstaff is a partner specialising in criminal and regulatory law. He advises individuals and companies in relation to controlled drug licensing and AML/Proceeds of Crime considerations in the context of the domestic and international cannabis market. He has particular experience in advising and representing individuals accused of sexual offences, drugs offences and offences involving violence.

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