Novel Food Regulation & What Does The Future Look Like For The CBD Industry In The UK?

CBD’s future has been disrupted by a German court’s verdict to catalog CBD as either Novel Food or prescription medicine. The European Food Safety Authority has then changed its view and has stated that CBD food supplements should now be categorized as Novel food instead of food supplements. This will have a significant impact on the constant commercialization of CBD as food supplements. Meanwhile, Britain’s Food Standards Agency has emphasized that it will ask local assembly trading standard officers to eliminate all CBD products from shelves until the novel food approval process is complete, which may take 12-18 months.

What is Novel Food?

A Novel food is a type of food that doesn’t have a history of ingestion. In regards to the new novel food regulations, novel food is defined as food that has not been consumed to a substantial degree by human beings in the EU before 15 May 1997, which is when the first ruling of novel food was enforced.

Novel food can be recently developed, inventive food or food that is produced using expertise and production processes, and foods that are conventionally consumed outside of the European Union. Some examples of novel foods are new carbohydrates (tagatose), new micro-organic culture (some probiotics), and exotic fruits and seeds like chia seeds and the noni tree fruit.

What is the Link between CBD, Novel Food, and the FSA?

CBD was classified as a novel food, which means that all the CBD products have to be assessed and certified before being sold.

The Food Standard Agency (FSA) is the regulating body for novel food and has set a deadline for all CBD businesses to provide more data about the products and their contents. Additionally, it advised susceptible groups to refrain from consuming Flavoured CBD products, and healthy adults to take not more than 70mg daily.

The Application Process

The CBD industry must offer additional data about CBD products and their contents. According to the FSA, businesses are required to submit a fully authenticated, novel food authorization request by 31 March 2021. The good news is that CBD oil can still be sold in the UK since the novel food catalog is just an advisory list and not a law.

Steps to Take During the Application Process

  • Data collection, which comprises of lab statistics, security and exposure data, manufacturing data as well as the proposed usage
  • Applying on an online portal
  • Assessment by the FSA, which can take as long as 9-18 months
  • Inquiries from FSA which will include the response time
  • The feedback, which can be an approval or rejection

Cannabis Trade Organization

CTA supports the novel food directive as it ensures the well-being of the consumers and provides transparency to the process mandatory for CBD products to remain on the shelves across the country. However, the CTA holds on to the thought that CBD products do not fall under the Novel Foods category.

What Is The Impact?

While the novel food catalog is only an advisory, the reclassification of CBD was un-welcomed by many people. The implications will be huge because, according to the Cannabis Trade Association, this market has the potential to be a billion-pound market with 300,000 CBD consumers in the UK alone.

The CTA said it believes that novel food regulation is an affirmative step towards guaranteeing its consumers’ safety and that the CBD products will remain on the shelves for many more years to come. Hopefully, there will be additional research to help support the current proof and allow for CBD oil to be sold across the EU.

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