CBD Novel Foods Update for April 2022

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CBD Novel Foods Update: Food Standards Agency releases list of CBD products allowed to remain on sale.

The UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) have recently published an updated Novel Foods list of CBD products permitted to remain on sale in the UK. Released on 15th April 2022, the list contains CBD products that have had their status updated since they made their application.

What are novel foods laws for CBD?

Novel foods laws are derived originally from EU law (Regulation (EU) 2017/2468) developed by the EFSA (European Food Standards Agency) and were rolled over following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union in 2016.

According to the British Government, EFSA guidance remains relevant as the UK approach “is based on EU processes.”

What is a novel food?

The UK novel foods laws are regulated by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and are designed to govern the sale and production of foods that have recently been developed or have recently appeared on the market.

This applies to any food product deemed to have no history of consumption before May 1997.

Here are a few examples of novel foods from the UK Government website:

Examples of Novel Foods:
  • New food ingredients such as phytosterols and phytostabols used in cholesterol reducing spreads.
  • Traditional foods eaten elsewhere in the world, such as chia seeds or baobab.
  • Foods produced from new processes, such as bread treated with ultraviolet light to increase vitamin D levels.

Under UK law, CBD is considered a novel food.

Is CBD an FSA novel food?

Yes, CBD is considered a novel food under UK regulations created by the FSA. This means CBD has no history of consumption in the UK before May 1997.

This means anyone who intends to use CBD as an ingredient in food will need to apply for a novel foods licence.

Who makes the UK’s novel food regulations?

The UK’s Food Standards Agency, or FSA, is responsible for the UK’s Novel Foods regulations. You can apply for a novel foods licence with the FSA on their website.

How to apply for Novel Foods applications

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Do you need a novel foods licence to sell CBD products?

Not necessarily. Firstly, at the time of writing this article, no products currently on the UK market have been given authorisation from the FSA nor have any licences been issued. Currently, applications have one of three statuses according to the FSA, which we will detail further in this article.

These are Validated, Awaiting Evidence or Removed. Products containing CBD can remain on sale if they have either Validated or Awaiting Evidence status. Those with Removed status can no longer be sold, nor can any end products using ingredients listed as Removed.

Secondly, a novel foods application for CBD applies to a specific ingredient only and not to any final products using CBD.

Therefore if the manufacturer you order your CBD from already has a novel foods application for an ingredient that is validated or awaiting approval, then end products using that ingredient can be remain on sale under the same novel foods application.

This does not apply if you make any changes to the ingredient, or use the ingredient in a way not specified under the novel foods application.

How do I get my CBD products into the Novel Foods catalogue?

Businesses wishing to sell products containing CBD must apply for authorisation of their CBD extracts, isolates and associated products with the UK’s FSA.

Usually the manufacturer will fill out the application, so if you a purchasing raw CBD ingredients from a supplier, you should ensure they have made an application for the products you are using. Most reputable CBD suppliers, including Dushey, have the relevant MSDS sheets, CoAs and Novel Foods applications available to customers upon request.

The manufacturer’s Novel Foods application will not apply to end products if you make any changes to the product not listed in their application, or use the ingredient in a way not specified in the application. You must then seek a separate application for that product.

Any applications made must also comply with other legislative requirements, and should not be incorrectly labelled, unsafe or regarded of controlled substances.

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What have the FSA said in their latest novel foods update?

The FSA have released a list of novel food applications with updated statuses based on the information provided during the application process. Currently, they have designated applications into three categories; Validated, Awaiting Evidence and Removed. 

At the time of writing, no applications have been granted a licence, nor have any applications been approved. This process is still ongoing and the FSA will likely release an update in the future.

Validated

This means your application can proceed to the authorisation process as it contains all information required by law. This means any CBD products covered under this application may remain on sale in the UK. A validated application is not the same as an authorised application.

Awaiting Evidence

If you have received awaiting evidence status on your novel foods application, then you are still in the process of providing the required product information to the FSA. This means you must finalise and provide studies, toxicology reports or anything else requested by the FSA in order for your application to become validated. 

If you don’t provide this information or the studies you provide are not of an acceptable quality, your product will not be allowed to remain on sale and will be removed from the market. 

Removed

If your application has not made sufficient progress, does not have the required evidence to prove its efficacy or safety or has been rejected outright by the FSA, your CBD product will be listed as removed. 

This means you must remove it from sale and cannot continue selling the production the UK.

What are the consequences of the Novel Foods Update in April 2022?

cbd testing in a glass test tube in a lab

Do I need to remove my CBD products from sale?

You only need to remove products from sale that have received a Removed status from the FSA, or that do not have an ongoing novel foods application.

If you have received either a Validated or Awaiting Evidence status on your CBD product, it can remain on the shelves and on sale in the UK until the FSA provides further updates on your application.

Can I continue selling my CBD products if I have received a validated novel foods status?

Yes, you may continue selling your CBD products on the UK market if you receive a validated status. 

Bear in mind this does not mean your product has been granted a licence, nor has it been authorised, only that it has progressed to the next stage of the authorisation process and may remain on sale until further updates from the FSA.

If my products have been validated, does this mean they are authorised for sale?

No, CBD products with a Validated status have not yet been authorised by the FSA, nor does this mean a licence to sell to product has been issued.

This only means the FSA has confirmed is has received all the information it needs and the application has moved to the next stage of the authorisation process.