Map of Europe - European Novel Food Regulation

European Novel Food Regulation for Cannabinoids and Novelty Foods

According to the EU’s Novel Food Regulation (EU) 2015/2283, every product considered “new” in a food product requires the approval of the European Commission before it can be sold as a food product in the European Union. A food is considered “new” if it was not significantly consumed in the EU before May 1997. These include newly developed foods (eg Antarctic krill oil). Use of new technologies (eg UV-treated foods) and food products already consumed in countries outside the EU (eg chia seeds). This applies to all foods, including dietary supplements, food ingredients and substances to be included in foods.

CBD News – What Does That Mean for You?

You’ve probably seen the CBD making headlines these past few days in regards to European Novel Food Regulation for CBD. So, what does all this mean for you and can you still buy it?

Before a food product classified as “new” in the European Union can be sold, its use must be authorized after submission of an application for authorization to the European Commission. A novel food is only authorized if it can be shown that the product is safe, does not mislead the consumer and has no nutritional disadvantage.

The European Food Safety Agency (ESFA) is currently exploring the possibility of introducing a new CBD application in foods to allow the use of CBD in adult nutritional supplements that consume up to 130 mg per day. The ESFA opinion is expected to be available in March 2019. If the application is successful, the European Commission must draw up an implementing act within seven months to approve the use of the product.

What Has Changed?

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has changed its position on the classification of CBD supplements. It’s a technical detail that means they’ve now classified the CBD as “new food”.

EIHA calls on the institutions of the European Union to rapidly adopt a political strategy that will allow Europe to compete on the world stage and show an increasingly competitive approach from Asia and Canada and the United States, where the Bill Hemp Farm Bill 2018 recently was ratified, thereby allowing the plant. Europe has proven skills, expertise and experience to become the world leader in this fast-growing hemp industry, which is recovering from almost 60 years of global oppression. Innovations in the hemp sector have ceased significantly following the signing of the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs in 1961.

What Does That Mean?

This change in classification means that the CBD needs to be re-evaluated to be approved as a new food. This process usually takes one year to 18 months.

Although the catalogue of novel foods is not exhaustive and has no legal power, it is often updated and amended with the help of the Member States and used as a reference by the authorities of the EU countries to facilitate the application of rules in this area. It was reported that the United Kingdom was among a group of countries requesting an update of the catalogue, as in the past there was no clear indication of the status of the CBD and other hemp products originating from the EU. This change was followed by the announcement that the UK Food Standards Agency is now seeking removal of CBD-based food products while the current application for approval of its use is being considered. This can prevent consumers from accessing the CBD and manufacturers can sell their products for up to 18 months.

Is consuming CBD still safe?

Yes, there is no reason to assume that the CBD is somehow dangerous.

Dr. Sarah Brewer advises:

“The new EFSA classification was for regulatory/technical reasons and not for security reasons.”

While this is safe, it is also important to be aware of the differences between the products that may fall under the general term cannabis. The plant Cannabis sativa L. contains about 113 cannabinoids, which have a direct effect on the body via the cannabinoid receptors in our cells. The best-known cannabinoid is perhaps THC, known for its psychotropic properties.

Can I Still Buy These Products?

Yes for now. However, if the UK Food Standards Agency chooses to comply with the EU Directive, it may not be possible to buy CBD during the novel food evaluation period (12-18 months).

Nevertheless, when CBD / hemp is subjected to certain extraction or purification techniques, new food approval may be required as undesirable components may increase at the same time. A typical example is hemp oil, which undergoes supercritical CO2 extraction.

Will It Still Be Legal to Use It?

Yes, the proposed new European classification focuses on the sale of CBD rather than the use of CBD. CBD is still legal for you to own and use.

In addition, the cultivation of hemp under the license of the Ministry of Health is legal. Some cannabis strains (Cannabis sativa) are legally grown for a variety of purposes, including food and feed. Hemp varieties that can be cultivated in Europe are those listed in the EU Common Catalog of Varieties whose tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content does not exceed 0.2% (Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013).

And Then, What Will Happen to The Industry?

The new Novel Food Regulation contains a Union list, as of 1 January 2018, new food authorizations will be generic rather than applicant-based so that each food business operator can place new authorized food in the EU market. However, the proprietary privacy option will encourage companies to innovate and develop new science to support their new food applications.

In view of these changes, it remains to be seen in practice to what extent they could influence innovations in the field of plants and plant extracts under EU food law.

The British Food Standards Agency has not yet issued a formal statement on its decision to reclassify the CBD. If the rules change, we will let you know.