Protecting the food supplement status with the UK FSA


Challenge

In June 2017, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) contacted the CTA as it was intending to review the status of CBD extracts and placing them under the Novel Foods Regulation (CBD has been on the Novel Register since 2014).  Classifying CBD extracts as Novel Foods, and not food supplements anymore, would create a very restrictive control on how CBD products could be offered to the market, thus stopping the sales of an industry that had witnessed a 100% growth in the previous 6 months.

Action by the CTA

The CTA responded by triggering a series of meetings with the FSA and the head of the Novel Foods section. The goal was to objectively demonstrate that CBD products were historically not Novel and that the need to restrict their sales through demanding regulation was not appropriate.
The CTA also insisted on the difference between extracts and isolates. While extracts are obtained using centuries old methods, isolates use modern technology that did not exist prior to 1997 in order to achieve significantly usable results.

Results

The CTA and FSA quickly reached a shared position that only saw isolated cannabinoids as Novel Foods, leaving extracts under the foods supplement rules.

This successful conclusion ensured on one side that the industry could continue to thrive and grow while selling extracts-based products; it also ensured, on the other side, that the FSA could set its rules and regulations in partnership with a knowledgeable body.
This event also raised consciousness about the need of a true self-regulating organisation for the CBD market. The Cannabis Products Directive (CPD), now evolved into TrustCanna, was born.

Of course, since then further actions in Europe have seen a tightening from the position we faced then.  Now we are dealing extensively with the FSA and other equivalent bodies on a legal route to ensure that non exclusive cannabinoid extracts are not seen as Novel.  October will see the CTA launch a legal process to ensure that only isolated cannabinoid compounds are seen as Novel.