In February 2020, the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) set a deadline of 31st March 2021 for businesses to submit “valid novel food authorisation applications” to ensure CBD products meet legal standards, including quality, safety and content.
The Cannabis Trades Association has been critical of the FSA’s refusal to delay the CBD novel foods deadline despite the obvious difficulties for businesses since the first lockdown came into force in March last year. Despite the clear mitigation of staff on furlough and laboratories in lockdown or being engaged in research and testing related to the virus, the FSA said, “the deadline as previously set out by the FSA remains”.
Apply by 31st March
However, this month the FSA updated their advice to the CBD industry, reiterating its call to submit novel food applications before 31st March, but effectively giving an extension on the deadline so long as applications have been submitted and validated, rather than submitted and authorised, by the cut off date.
Companies with suitably validated applications can continue selling their products in England and Wales from 1st April until a decision has been made on authorisation. It’s worth keeping in mind that validation is not the same as authorisation, and there is no guarantee that a validated application will eventually be authorised.
Emily Miles, Chief Executive of the Food Standards Agency, said, “Applying for novel food authorisation is the only way CBD products can remain on sale here. For the past year, we’ve been encouraging all businesses to submit good quality applications as a matter of urgency.
“However, we have received a large number of applications close to the deadline. This means that, in order to process these properly, we are adapting the criteria of products allowed to remain on sale from 1st April.”
While this is undoubtedly welcome news, it does demonstrate that a delay of some sort was needed to give the CBD industry sufficient time to respond.
Spectrum already complies with industry standards and has measures in place to meet regulations for the manufacturing of the equipment used to make high-quality CBD oil.
We welcome the FSA taking action to ensure companies producing end-user CBD and hemp-derived products are compliant with similar safety measures and standards to safeguard consumers from buying a potentially hazardous or ineffective mix of chemicals.