In February 2020, the FSA gave the CBD industry a deadline of 31 March 2021 to submit valid novel food authorisation applications.
Previously, only products which were on sale at the time of the FSA’s initial announcement and were linked to an application that had been validated by 31 March 2021 were to be included.
In a bid to maximise the opportunity to pass validation, this now includes all products on sale on 13 February 2020 and linked to an application submitted before 31 March 2021 that is subsequently validated.
UK CBD on the world stage
Sarah Ellson, regulatory lawyer and cannabis expert at law firm Fieldfisher, said the new criteria would be welcomed by members of the industry and was key in cementing the UK’s position as a major player in the CBD market.
“This change by the FSA, while only small, could be another sign that the UK is positioning itself to be a key market for CBD products post-Brexit,” said Ellson. “There is a keenness to confirm the safety of these products and keep them on the shelves.
“However, it's important that businesses do not slow down the pace as this change has only allowed for a short leeway of time and we cannot be sure of further changes to the novel foods application process, so business do need to move quickly.”
Applications are subject to an eight-day admin check. It can then take up to 30 working days for validation, which will then continue through an authorisation process that undertakes checks on safety to determine if products can be authorised for sale.
Remaining on sale
FSA chief executive Emily Miles reiterated that applying for novel food authorisation was the only way CBD products could remain on sale in the UK. The submission of good quality applications was a matter of urgency, she said.
“However, we have received a large number of applications close to the deadline,” Miles added. “This means that, in order to process these properly, we are adapting the criteria of products allowed to remain on sale from 1 April.
“For some time now we’ve been supporting a pragmatic and proportionate approach to CBD regulation. Our commitment to ensuring that consumers know these products are being checked for safety remains firm.”
A list of products linked to validated applications will be published on the FSA’s website in April and regularly updated.