What does EFSA novel food status mean for everyday CBD consumers?

The law surrounding validated CBD products is a bit of a minefield. It’s a complex web of EFSA (European food safety authority) and FSA (UK Food Standards Agency) legislation, regulation and compliance, and CBD companies are scrambling to get their heads around the implications for the industry as a whole. Throw Brexit into the mix and you’ve got a perfect storm of uncertainty and confusion. 

But its complexity doesn’t mean it’s a subject to avoid, quite the opposite. EthicaCBD is set to become an authorised CBD provider, setting it apart from CBD already on the market. At EthicaCBD we strive to offer full transparency, so we will attempt to break down the key issues surrounding CBD as a novel food, and explain why lawful CBD is so important for our consumers and B2B wholesalers.

What is a novel food?

A novel food is a food or substance that has not been widely consumed by humans in the EU before 15th May 1997 (which is when the EFSA regulation on novel foods first came into play.) It describes a product that has been recently developed, is considered to be innovative, or is manufactured utilising new technologies or manufacturing processes. It also covers foods and items that have been traditionally consumed outside of the European Union. As of January this year, the FSA took control of the process for UK applications after leaving the E.U.

Why do these products need to be regulated?  

Put simply: safety. The aim of this process is to ensure that any products that are offered for sale are completely safe for the consumer. The Canna Consultants, specialists in advising on achieving novel food status, break this down further and explain the exact criteria that those seeking certification must adhere to:

“the novel food/ingredient must be safe, on its own, in the specific manner in which it is delivered and in which it is intended to be consumed in the manufacturer’s product

the novel food/ingredient must be safe, on its own, in the specific quantity/volume/strength in which it is delivered and in which it is intended to be consumed in the manufacturer’s product

that the novel food/ingredient must be safe, in the context of the delivery mechanism in which it is intended to be consumed, i.e. the manufacturer’s product.”

Source: The Canna Consultants

How do companies achieve novel food certification?

The steps involved in achieving novel food status are thorough, and whilst this creates a headache for the CBD companies, it’s reassuring for the consumer. By choosing to buy validated CBD products, consumers can place their complete confidence in the products that they choose to sample. Whilst you don’t need to know the exact intricacies of the approval process, just know that there is lots of testing involved in achieving a validated CBD extract. 

Who does the testing and what is involved?

The testing is the responsibility of the CBD manufacturer. They must present their findings to either the FSA for a UK application or the EFSA for an E.U. application who will review the results and determine the safety of each individual product. Testing relies on the manufacturer being able to accurately and confidently prove exactly what is in each sample: for CBD manufacturers this involves listing all cannabinoids and any other trace elements, however minute. CBD companies are required to submit dossiers of information which will be carefully scrutinised and risk assessed for approval. 

And just for your information, EthicaCBD goes above and beyond what is required in terms of testing. Using the highest grade HPLC (high performance liquid chromatography) to rigorously analyse our CBD extracts and oils, we know exactly what makes up every microdrop of the final product, allowing us to provide the most detailed cannabinoid profiles to the relevant agencies. 

What happens to those who achieve novel food status?

Those that successfully achieve FSA approval will be added to a list of approved CBD companies. They will be allowed to legally distribute their CBD products to consumers and wholesalers. 

What will happen to those companies who don’t receive the necessary validation? 

Everyone has to apply, even if the CBD is already on the market. Those companies that do not receive the correct validation will be required by law to cease selling their products. CBD wholesalers will no longer be allowed to stock and sell items that have not been officially classified as novel foods.

How does Brexit affect novel food status?

Some questions still remain as to how FSA products that have been approved in the UK will be recognised post Brexit. It remains to be seen how the European Commission will treat CBD products that have been given the green light for use in the UK and whether or not additional certification will be required for operating within the EU.

As a consumer, why should I be aware of EFSA novel food status?

Understanding the processes involved allows the consumer to make an informed choice regarding the products that they are purchasing. And knowing that a manufacturer has been officially granted novel food status delivers a quality and safety guarantee. Consumers should be questioning CBD wholesalers and ensuring that they are purchasing lawful CBD from an FSA approved company.

EthicaCBD has done everything (and more) to ensure that it will be one of the first companies in the UK to receive novel food validation. As a consumer, that means you can place your trust in the company. You can trust the quality of the product being produced. You can trust the safety of each of our extracts. And you can place EthicaCBD at the centre of your lifestyle routine confident in the knowledge that we will be here for the long term.

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