Following publication of the list of cannabidiol products that the Foods Standards Agency is working on authorising for sale in the UK, businesses must review their products against the list.


Any products not on the list will need to be removed from the market. Failure to do so may result in enforcement action. For retailers and consumers, it will assist in deciding what CBD food products to purchase and stock. 

IN DETAIL 

The Foods Standards Agency (FSA) regulates applications for novel food status for foods containing CBD. As 'novel foods' CBD foodstuffs require FSA assessment and approval before being placed on the market. There are currently no approved CBD food products for sale in the UK. 

The FSA has published a public list of cannabidiol (CBD) products it is working on authorising for sale in the UK. The CBD public list shows which products have a credible application for authorisation with the FSA. It is calling on local authorities and the industry to help bring the CBD market into compliance by prioritising the removal of products from sale that are not on the public list.

Although those products on the list are not guaranteed for approval, it will assist retailers and consumers in considering what CBD food products to purchase and stock. 

Local authorities which enforce novel food legislation have been encouraged to advise businesses to voluntarily remove those products not on the list from the market and, should they fail to do so, further enforcement action will be considered. 

One of the key issues still facing the industry is the confusion around permitted levels of Tetrahydrocannabinal (THC) and other controlled substances found naturally in cannabis in CBD products. The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs' (ACMD) report published in December 2021 which provides recommendations on setting a limit on the level of controlled cannabinoids in consumer CBD products but notes that it would not be appropriate to set a single limit to apply to all CBD products. This reflects ongoing uncertainty over whether any levels are permissible in CBD products.

Both the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs' report and the FSA's public list are a step in the right direction for the CBD industry and will assist in bringing the market into compliance with the law. 

Going forward businesses should review their products against the list to assess what products will need to be removed from the market.  They should also keep levels of THC and other prohibited substances under review given the recommendation by the ACMD.

Addleshaw Goddard LLP has an experienced Product Safety team who can assist with regulatory and commercial advice to businesses operating in the CBD industry. 

Key Contacts

Adrian Mansbridge

Adrian Mansbridge

Legal Director, Global Investigations
Leeds, UK

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India Haresign

India Haresign

Associate, Global Investigations
Leeds

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