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cannabidiols From May 2019

What is the legislative situation for products containing cannabidiol?

With increased media coverage and social media interest leading to growing consumer awareness of hemp derivatives, in particular cannabidiol (CBD), many in the food and drink industry are looking to develop new products containing this compound. However, the legislative situation for such products is complex.

On 1 February 2019, the European Commission amended the entry for CBD in the EU Novel Foods Catalogue. Food businesses have been unable to prove that there is a significant history of consumption of CBD in food prior to May 1997 in the EU. Under the EU Novel Foods Regulations therefore, extracts of Cannabis sativa and derived products containing cannabinoids (including CBD) are considered novel foods and need to be evaluated and authorised before they are permitted to be placed on the market in the EU. This applies to the extracts, products to which they are added, and extracts of other plants containing cannabinoids.

The situation does not affect some products derived from the Cannabis sativa plant, or plant parts such as seeds, seed oil, hemp seed flour, defatted hemp seed, which have a history of consumption in the EU and therefore are not novel. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is considering a way forward to achieve compliance.

Contact: Helen Arrowsmith
+44(0)1386 842210

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