The CBD industry has exploded exponentially in the last five years. While Spirit of Hemp goes the extra mile to ensure our customers enjoy quality whole plant CBD oil in every bottle, other companies appear to be less exacting about their standards. The situation has been worsened by an overall lack of regulation, so it was only a matter of time before the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) announced its intentions on how to better regulate the industry.
With their statement on the 13th February 2020, the FSA finally announced recommendations on how to ensure British consumers are guaranteed safe, quality CBD oil. This was in the light of the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) inclusion of CBD in its novel food catalogue last year.
CBD - a Novel Food?
A food is considered novel if it didn’t form part of our diet before 1997, in which case it is included in the novel foods catalogue and authorisation proving its safety must be obtained for its continued sale.
The authorisation process, which is extremely lengthy and expensive, ensures novel foods meet legal standards, including on safety and content.
To give an example, in Europe consuming chia seeds is a relatively recent phenomenon. They are therefore considered a novel food requiring authorisation if added to food products.
Previously, CBD isolate was included in the novel food catalogue, but last year the EFSA extended this to all cannabinoids, including full spectrum CBD oils consumed as nutritional supplements.
It is up to individual EU member states whether they implement the requirement to authorise foods included in the novel food catalogue. In the case of CBD, several countries including Spain, Austria and Germany have already banned the sale of non-compliant CBD products, sending a wave of panic through the industry.
Understandably, British CBD companies and consumers were concerned whether the UK FSA would follow suit, potentially closing down the whole CBD market. Thankfully, they have taken a more pragmatic and measured approach that gives clear guidance to the CBD industry while protecting the consumer.
The FSA Position
Recognising CBD as a novel food, the FSA has given CBD companies a deadline of 31st March 2021 to submit a valid novel food authorisation application. Only CBD products with a validated novel food authorisation application can be sold after this date and any non-compliant products will be removed from shelves by trading standards officers.
In the meantime, CBD companies may continue selling their products as long as they are correctly labelled, safe to consume, and do not contain controlled substances.
The FSA also gave some more general advice about how much CBD can be safely consumed on a daily basis (70mg in healthy adults), based on a recent report by the government's Committee on Toxicity.
The report drew on evidence from a number of clinical trials studying purified CBD administered to children with drug resistant epilepsy in doses of up to 50mg per kilo body weight. At these elevated doses, some cases of liver toxicity and drug interactions were found, however, these high levels of purified CBD are rarely consumed by people taking whole plant CBD oil products such as our Spirit of Hemp range. We believe therefore, it is highly unlikely that our full spectrum CBD oil would pose any of the health risks outlined by the Committee on Toxicology.
The FSA also advised anyone taking medication or pregnant women against consuming CBD oil, again based on this toxicology study.
What This Means For Spirit of Hemp CBD Oil
At Spirit of Hemp we source our CBD oil from reputable, organic European hemp farmers who will be making a novel foods authorisation application by the 31st March 2021, and as such we will be fully compliant by this date.
Until then, we will be continuing to sell our CBD oils as normal as they fulfil the FSA criteria concerning correct labelling and safety.
Spirit of Hemp was born out of the desire to make quality CBD oil more readily available to the public as we ourselves have experienced just how empowering and healing the hemp plant can be. As such we welcome and support a better regulated CBD market in the UK that gives clarity to CBD producers and better protection to consumers.
To read the full statement from the FSA, click here.