The update from the FSA means the deadline is now for submission by March 31 2021 and not validation.
The criteria for CBD products which can remain on sale from 1 April 2021 has been updated by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
Previously, only products which were on sale at the time of the FSA’s announcement (13 February 2020) and were linked to an application which had been validated by 31 March 2021 were to be included.
To maximise the opportunity to pass validation, the FSA has extended this to include all products on sale on 13 February 2020. All applications must be submitted by 31 March 2021 – this is an update to the previous stance that all products must be validated by that date.
The FSA has reiterated that these products must have been on the market prior to 13 February 2020 and be linked to a validated dossier.
“Applying for novel food authorisation is the only way CBD products can remain on sale here,” Emily Miles, Chief Executive, FSA, said in a press statement. “For the past year, we’ve been encouraging all businesses to submit good quality applications as a matter of urgency.
“However, we have received a large number of applications close to the deadline. This means that, in order to process these properly, we are adapting the criteria of products allowed to remain on sale from 1 April.
“For some time now we’ve been supporting a pragmatic and proportionate approach to CBD regulation. Our commitment to ensuring that consumers know these products are being checked for safety remains firm.”
The FSA will also be publishing a list of products linked to validated applications in April, with regular updates to this list as and when dossiers are validated. Products which have not yet met the full requirements as set out by the FSA, but have provided adequate proof that they will do so, will also be listed. This evidence must include the company’s “robust plans” to complete the risk assessment process.
The Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI) has welcomed this news but is currently seeking clarity that these companies will continue to be allowed to sell their products.
The FSA has emphasised that validation is not the same as authorisation, and there is no guarantee that a validated application will eventually be authorised – each application must follow the comprehensive risk analysis process.
What is CBD?
CBD is a chemical found naturally within the cannabis plant, it has only recently been removed and sold as a separate CBD extract. At present no CBD products are authorised for food sales.
CBD was confirmed as a novel food product in January 2019. Under the novel food regulations, foods or food ingredients which do not have a history of consumption before May 1997 must be evaluated and authorised by the food safety regulator before they can be placed on the market.
The FSA is responsible for regulating CBD as a novel food. This does not include cosmetics, vapes, products making medicinal claims, or products which are regarded as narcotics due to containing controlled substances.
Where do I submit my novel food application?
Businesses in the UK can submit your application via the Regulated Products system, which is jointly operated by the FSA and Food Standards Scotland (FSS).
The Northern Ireland Protocol outlines the EU law that applies in Northern Ireland. This includes novel foods regulations and businesses wishing to sell CBD products in Northern Ireland should continue to submit novel food authorisation applications to the European Commission.
If you have not yet submitted your dossier, due to time constraints, the ACI has recommended businesses do so as soon as possible.
If you’d like to make the most of this opportunity but you’re unsure where to start, you can reach out to ACI here and find out how they can help.