New CTA campaign to protect CBD in the UK

Keeping you in the loop on the conversation around the legalities regarding CBD regulation, we wanted to share news from the UK’s Cannabis Trades Association (CTA) who are launching “systematic campaign of political and media engagement” designed to “keep the pressure” on the Foods Standards Agency (FSA) not to withdraw CBD products from shelves, as a result of last year’s Novel Food classification.

I think we’d agree that it makes sense considering how many humans are benefiting from the plant at present, and as a whole we don’t want to negatively affect access for those that are healing using the plant. Any type of enforcement could hit millions of consumers who regularly use CBD products.

The FSA’s head of food safety policy Michael Wight wrote a letter to the Cannabis Trades Association which said: “The FSA has no current plans to immediately withdraw CBD products from the shelves but retains the right to change this stance if new evidence is produced that concludes CBD is not safe, or for any other relevant reason.” 

Last January the European Commission re-classified all CBD sold as food or food supplements (including CBD oil) as “novel”.  According to the European Commission, novel food is defined as food “that had not been consumed to a significant degree by humans in the EU before 15 May 1997, when the first Regulation on novel food came into force”.

The reclassification means that manufacturers and distributors wanting to sell CBD food products should apply for novel food authorisation from the European Commission. CBD products that have not been granted such authorisation are technically at risk of enforcement action. This is why, if you are planning to start a new CBD brand, then make sure that you get it third party tested – feel free to get in touch with us for guidance on that!

In the UK, where shoppers are already spending more than £300m a year on a wide range of CBD products, the FSA has been seeking a “proportionate way forward by working with local authorities, businesses and consumers to clarify how to achieve compliance in the marketplace in a proportionate manner”.

Responding to the FSA’s letter, CTA chairman Mike Harlington said: “It seems clear to us from our direct communication with the FSA, and from correspondence between them and other interested parties shown to us, that they acknowledge that the information available does not suggest any significant safety concerns related to CBD products. I believe that this should be a source of some reassurance to the members of our trade association and the industry as a whole.”