Deadline approaches for CBD Novel Foods applications

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

CBD is a chemical found naturally within the cannabis plant
CBD is a chemical found naturally within the cannabis plant

Related tags Regulation Food safety Ingredients & nutrition

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has warned the CBD industry the deadline is approaching for submitting Novel Foods applications for validation in order to continue to sell their products in England and Wales.

Ahead of the 31 March deadline, the FSA said applications would face an eight-day admin check, and it could then take up to 30 working days for an application to be validated. These validated applications would then continue through an authorisation process that ensured new products met legal standards, including on safety and content.

Local authorities enforce novel food legislation. They have been advised that only products on sale at the time of the FSA's deadline announcement​ (13 February 2020) and linked to a validated Novel Foods application should remain on sale from 1 April 2021. 

FSA chief executive Emily Miles said: "CBD​ products have been widely available on the high street for some time, but we think it is really important that people who choose to buy CBD products know that they are being checked for safety. 

'More to come'

"In February 2020, we asked the CBD industry to provide more information about the safety and contents of these products. Many Novel Foods applications have already been received but we know there are more to come. With the deadline fast approaching, I would encourage all businesses to submit their applications in good time. From 1 April 2021, businesses will be advised to remove products which do not meet the criteria from sale."

Based on recommendations from the Committee on Toxicity, the FSA advises that, as a precaution, those who are pregnant, breastfeeding or taking any medication do not to consume CBD products.

Healthy adults are also advised to think carefully before taking CBD, and the FSA recommends no more than 70mg a day (about 28 drops of 5% CBD), unless under medical direction.

Businesses wishing to sell their products in Britain should submit their novel food applications via the new Regulated Products system​ which is jointly operated by the Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland.

The Northern Ireland (NI) Protocol outlines the EU law that applies in NI. This includes novel foods regulations and businesses wishing to sell CBD products in NI should continue to submit novel food authorisation applications to the European Commission.

What is CBD?

CBD is a chemical found naturally within the cannabis plant​, it has only very recently been removed and sold as a separate CBD extract. CBD extracts can be found in a range of products such as oils, confectionery, bakery products and drinks. CBD was confirmed as a Novel Food product in January 2019. Under the Novel Food regulations, foods or food ingredients which do not have a history of consumption before May 1997 must be evaluated and authorised by the food safety regulator before they can be placed on the market.

The FSA is responsible for regulating CBD as a novel food. This does not include cosmetics, vapes, products making medicinal claims or products containing controlled drugs such as THC.

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