31st March 2022
By Emily Ledger

The UK has become the first country in the world to regulate the legal cannabis extract market – largely represented by CBD products. Today, the Food Standards Agency released its list of CBD products approved for sale in the UK.

Cannabidiol (CBD) has become increasingly popular in the UK and around the world over the last few years, thanks to the compound’s perceived health and wellness benefits. CBD and other cannabinoids can now be found in a huge number of products, from drinks and edibles to cosmetics and capsules.

Publication of the list occurs over three years after the European Commission confirmed the inclusion of CBD extracts and isolates in the Novel Foods Act. Only CBD products that appear on the list are legally permitted to be sold to consumers in the UK. All other CBD products must now be removed from the market.

Steve Moore, Founder of the Association for the Cannabinoids Industry (ACI) commented: “The FSA public list represents a major milestone for the UK’s CBD category.

“It demonstrates the progress the sector has made to meet compliance requirements and creates greater regulatory certainty which, in turn, will increase levels of consumer trust, encourage investment in the sector, and promote innovation.

“ACI is immensely grateful for the work that our members and the FSA have put in to take this momentous step.”

CBD brands and manufacturers in the UK must have submitted a novel food application for each of their products by 31st March 2021. After this date, only CBD products that were launched before 13th February 2019 and linked to a Novel Foods application were allowed to remain on the market. However, the publication of the FSA’s approved product list will likely see a further reduction in CBD offerings in the UK.

In September, 2020, the ACI, the UK’s CBD sector trade body, created a scientific-based consortium of members to submit a ‘super-dossier’ on their behalf. This was logged with the FSA in February 2021 and has played an important role in helping members’ products remain on the market.

Moore said: “We are hugely proud that, through our consortium study, all members of the ACI
have been included on the FSA’s public list, therefore earning the right to continue to be sold
within the UK.”

The FSA list covers products to be sold in England and Wales. CBD products in Scotland will be regulated by Food Standards Scotland, while Northern Irish companies must continue to adhere to EU Novel Foods rules.

The ACI has launched a new website – www.ukcbdlist.com – to serve as a reference point to enable consumers, retailers, health practitioners, and enforcement authorities to verify the legality of specific CBD products.

What is a Novel Food?

Under European Law, a Novel Food is a product that was not consumed to a meaningful extent by people in Europe prior to May 1997. Novel Foods can also be food products made through processes that were not used routinely prior to May 1997.

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