The Cannabis Trades Association (CTA) is to launch a systematic campaign of political and media engagement to keep the pressure on the Foods Standards Agency (FSA) not to attempt to enforce any move against the CBD industry based on the ‘Novel Foods’ issue. Any such enforcement could hit millions of consumers who regularly use CBD products.
In recent positive news, the Association received confirmation from the FSA that there are currently no plans for CBD products to be withdrawn from sale. However, concerns remain as the FSA are maintaining their view that CBD products meet the criteria of ‘Novel Foods’.
In a letter to the CTA from Michael Wight (Deputy Director, Head of Food Safety Policy at the FSA) on the 15th of January it was confirmed that:
“The FSA has no current plans to immediately withdraw CBD products from the shelves but retains the right to change this stance if new evidence is produced that concludes CBD is not safe, or for any other relevant reason”
Mike Harlington, Chairman of the CTA said, ‘It seems clear to us from our direct communication with the FSA, and from correspondence between them and other interested parties shown to us, that they acknowledge that the information available does not suggest any significant safety concerns related to CBD products. I believe that this should be a source of some reassurance to the members of our trade association and the industry as a whole’.
However, Mr Harlington cautioned, ‘It is clear that the FSA do believe that CBD products meet their definition of ‘Novel Foods’. We disagree with them and will continue to challenge their position. In any event, we have received legal advice that the EU ruling on this issue has effectively left the decision about whether or not to enforce with the individual states across the EU. Currently, there is a mixed picture of how this is being handled across the Union. As an example, in Germany the approach seems to be strict, but their Courts have decided that the Commission’s Novel Food Catalogue is only a guide. And in any case, the UK will soon be leaving the EU which we hope will give even greater freedom to the UK authorities on how to interpret the situation’.
Mr Harlington continued, ‘CBD products are used by millions of consumers across the country on a daily basis. They simply wouldn’t use them if they didn’t think it helped their quality of life. We are committed to making sure that the CBD industry operates to the highest standards. Politicians and regulators need to understand the importance of these products to individual consumers and the importance of a vibrant and successful CBD industry to the UK economy. Enforcing the provisions of Novel Foods would be a draconian move and be a devastating blow for millions of UK consumers. For that reason, the Association is launching an intensive and systematic programme of lobbying on this issue’.
- Words 503
Notes to Editors