Yesterday, the Food Standards Agency (FSA), which regulates foods and food businesses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, issued its long-awaited statement on CBD in foods.

In January 2019, the European Commission updated the Novel Food Catalogue to state that extracts of Cannabis sativa L. and derived products containing cannabinoids are considered as novel foods, as a history of consumption has not been demonstrated. As a result, all extracts of hemp and derived products containing cannabinoids (including CBD) are now regarded by the European Commission as novel. The FSA responded by stating that it accepted the conclusion of the Commission and was “committed to finding a proportionate way forward…to clarify how to achieve compliance in the marketplace in a proportionate manner”.

Following the UK’s departure from the European Union, the current rules on novel foods will continue to apply until 1 January 2021, when the transition period under the UK’s withdrawal agreement from the EU comes to an end. However, the FSA has now confirmed its position on enforcement and prescribed actions which it considers “are a pragmatic and proportionate step in balancing the protection of public health with consumer choice“.


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On 15 April we issued a client Advisory summarising the current regulatory environment in Europe and the US for foods and cosmetics containing cannabidiol (CBD).

The status of such products, however, remains uncertain in several important respects. This note therefore identifies areas where developments or clarification are currently anticipated and addresses the use of CBD in vaping products.


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