FDA is tough on CBD food

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

We cover some of the latest CBD developments in food and drink
We cover some of the latest CBD developments in food and drink

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UK suppliers of products containing cannabis-derived compound cannabidiol (CBD) are still reviewing the tough stance the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took to the ingredient last month.

Publishing a revised consumer update, the FDA stated: “Based on the lack of scientific information supporting the safety of CBD in food, the FDA ... cannot conclude that CBD is generally recognised as safe (GRAS) among qualified experts for its use in human or animal food.”

However, the FDA is exploring ways for CBD foods to be lawfully marketed. There were still concerns about products containing contaminants, such as pesticides, and unanswered questions about toxicity, the organisation added.

The FDA outlined worries about the effects of CBD consumption, including potential liver injury, drowsiness and mood changes.

The FDA also issued warning letters to 15 companies for selling foods containing CBD in ways that violated the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

The EU Novel Food Regulation covers CBD foods in the UK. Firms are also advised to avoid cannabis’ psychoactive element, tetrahydrocannabinol, which is strictly regulated by The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. 

Meanwhile, in other CBD related news: 

Flavourless water-soluble CBD ingredients

Hemp extracts processor Socati is working with Hype Energy Drinks to develop a UK drink containing flavourless, water-soluble CBD ingredients for use in food and drink products.

“It is a very exciting opportunity and a product which we think will have strong appeal in the market,”​ Mark Elfenbein, chief revenue officer at Socati, told Food Manufacture​.

“We offer a broad-spectrum hemp extract ingredient that we believe will be attractive to the UK market. As more manufacturers are learning about us, and the demand for advanced ingredients like ours continues to grow in the territory, we think that there will be enormous opportunities for us in the UK market.

“We see the UK market as a priority. We are seeing significant interest in our ingredients in the UK and throughout Europe. As that interest scales, so will our exploration of investing in manufacturing overseas. We are not there yet, but are certainly tracking development of these markets.”

Developed using a proprietary chromatographic process, the ingredients contain an undetectable level of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the psychoactive chemical found in cannabis plants – and do not alter the flavour or texture of the finished product.

Incorporating cannabinoids into beverages, food and topicals without altering flavour or texture of finished products has been a significant problem faced by the industry that, up to now, hasn’t had a viable, commercial solution,​” said Socati chief executive Josh Epstein.

Through leveraging some of the most advanced technologies in the food and beverage industry, our new ingredient offers the precision that manufacturers require to satisfy the rapidly growing consumer demand for products containing CBD and other cannabinoids.”

Love Hemp acquired in £9m deal

Premium CBD supplier Love Hemp has been acquired by medicinal cannabis investment company World High Life (WHL) in a deal worth £9m.

WHL said the investment would provide the business with a platform that it could grow the brand across the UK and Europe.

Commenting on the sale, Love Hemp managing director Tony Calamita said: “This is a hugely exciting time for the business and, with the investment from World High Life, we’re looking forward to growing the Love Hemp brand across the world.”

The directors of WHL hoped its investment and their expertise in the cannabis sector would enable Love Hemp to accelerate its planned expansion, with a focus on the German market over the course of 2020.

WHL founder and chief executive David Stadnyk added: “Love Hemp is a fantastic business we have long admired and we believe our investment and experience can help Tony and Tom to take the business to the next level as a truly global player.”

CBD gum launches in UK

Confectionery brand Blockhead has launched what it claims to be is the UK’s first chewing gum infused with CBD.

Each piece of gum contains 3mg of CBD, which it claimed allowed people to absorb the chemical quicker than other methods currently on the market.

Vegan and sugar-free, the peppermint and menthol flavour of the gum was used to help disguise the “horrible pond water taste”​ of CBD, according to chief executive Danny Lowe.

If you were to have the gum without the CBD and hemp oil it would be one of the strongest gums you could possibly taste – so much peppermint and menthol – but when you chew it, it feels almost like a sweet mint because of the way the CBD and hemp dulls the flavour,”​ he added.

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