FSA Announces Novel Food Guidelines for UK CBD Businesses

13th February 2020

Over a year after the European Commission announced CBD’s classification as a Novel Food, the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) has revealed a new deadline for UK CBD businesses to comply with Novel Food regulation.

Food and drinks businesses that incorporate cannabidiol in their products have been told to reach compliance by March 31st 2021. Businesses that have not been granted approval by this date will face their products being removed from shelves.

Until this time, companies can continue to sell their existing products, provided they are not incorrectly labelled. However, the FSA has stated that “no new CBD extracts or isolates should be sold until they have the necessary authorisation.”

The Novel Food application deadline applies to all CBD businesses based and operating in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Applications in Scotland will be processed by Food Standards Scotland.

CBD in the UK

The CBD market in the UK (and the rest of the world) has rocketed over the last few years. Last June, the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC) reported that up to 6 million people in the UK had tried a product containing the Cannabis derivative. CBD products have continued to grow in popularity in the UK despite January 2019’s Novel Food classification casting some uncertainty over the industry,

However, the industry has earned its fair share of criticism following the publication of the CMC’s ‘CBD in the UK‘. The report found that a significant proportion of CBD markets on the market were incorrectly labelled – in some cases containing levels of ingredients that would technically make them illegal.

There have been a series of calls from various bodies to improve regulation on the industry to increase transparency and reliability. The CMC even launched its own cannabinoid regulatory body – the Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI).

Dr. Andy Yates, Pharmacy Lead at the ACI, claimed:

“The FSA have today provided us with the regulatory clarity that the industry and consumers have been crying out for.”

The Food Standards Agency has also provided a collection of guidelines for CBD companies to incorporate into their product labelling. This included recommended dosages for healthy individuals, and warnings against use for pregnant, breastfeeding or taking medications.

UK CBD businesses are reminded that FSA authorisation of their products “is the only route to compliance for these CBD products” under Novel Food regulation.


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