UK Confirms It Will Not Allow CBD Foods, Beverages

Even Brexit may not be able to save UK CBD users following a change in European guidance.

February 11, 2019

PRESS RELEASE - The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recently changed guidance on cannabinoids, asserting that all food products using any cannabinoid should now have special authorization under EU “novel food ingredient” regulation.

The UK, even while it remains in the EU, does not have to follow that proposal--EFSA guidance is non-binding and down to member states to implement.

But countries typically follow EFSA’s lead when creating national legislation, and some have already started taking enforcement action on CBD products. And the UK's Food Standards Agency has told CBD-Intel that it fully intends to enforce the guidance--no matter whether the UK is in the EU.

Under the new proposal, CBD, full-spectrum extracts and any other food product using a cannabinoid as an ingredient could be targeted.

The new guidance now states that: “Derived products containing cannabinoids are considered novel foods as a history of consumption has not been demonstrated.”

The guidance further clarifies that cannabinoids obtained from other plants or developed synthetically would still be considered novel.

This means that foods with cannabinoids could be off the European market for three years--the typical time it takes for an ingredient to gain novel food status--or potentially longer depending what actions the UK government takes.

With evidence that countries such as Spain, Italy and Austria have all been taking enforcement actions against CBD products on the basis of being “novel foods,” it would seem likely that they will quickly adopt the new guidance and expand their efforts to include all cannabinoid-containing food items accordingly.

Previously only enriched cannabinoids were considered novel food ingredients.