EUROPE’S leading hemp trade group is set to make a significant move which could free much of the continent’s CBD industry from the shackles of the Novel Food regime.
The European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) has spent many months scouring centuries-old historical records to illustrate the widespread use of hemp extracts in foods.
It has now amassed almost 30 such examples including a soup recipe from the personal chef of 14th Century Pope Martin V.
Cannabis Flowers And Spices Soup
This Roman dish features juices from the flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant mixed with spices, including saffron, bread-crumbs and onion.
Also in Italy, from the 19th Century, EIHA has unearthed evidence which shows hemp flowers being cooked with bacon to make a tortellini. Sweden, Lithuania, Ireland, Germany, and others all document the widespread use of cannabis extracts in food and drinks.
This dossier is now to be taken forward in a submission to the Slovakian authorities by a partnership of Slovakian hemp and CBD business with the backing of the EIHA.
EIHA Managing Director Lorenza Romanese believes this presentation – under the Article 4 route of the European Novel Food rules (see panel below) – could deliver a significant boost the the continent’s hemp and CBD market.
Hemp Extracts Eaten For Centuries
Ms Romanese said: “People have eaten hemp for centuries without mulling on whether it is a food, a novel food or a medicine.
“Naturally occurring levels of hemp extracts are a food and have been eaten as a food for many many centuries and I am not giving up on that.
“So, If we are successful then naturally-occurring hemp extract products will be allowed to be sold as a traditional food in Europe.
“It will be legal, and it therefore opens up a lot of possibilities to small and large businesses; everyone will benefit. It’s a gift to businesses.”
Novel Food regulations apply to foods that were not available in the European Union (EU) prior to May 1997, when these regulations first came into effect.
CBD Declared Novel In 2019
European rules on CBD products were changed in 2019 when the European Commission (EC) determined they were derived from processes developed since 1997 – and are, therefore, novel.
Ms Romanese says the Article 4 challenge will be lodged over the coming weeks, and she outlined the process.
“If a food business operator has any doubt on whether their food product is novel one they can address this to their national authorities through an Article 4 submission of the EU Novel Food Regulations.
“The authorities in that country have a maximum four months to make a determination on this then has to be sent to all the other individual member sates, the EU ministries and the European Commission.
Mr Romanese stressed that its Article 4 challenge applies solely to hemp and CBD extracts containing only naturally-occurring levels of CBD.
Momentum Gathering For Hemp
If successful the Article 4 challenge will see 2021 start on a high for the industry after it also finished 2020 on the up.
She added: “The narcotic issue was a big threat but I knew it was not right.
“We are in a good momentum with hemp, right now. I hope we will be successful, but I do not know yet if what we have will be enough to get the green light on Article 4.
In order to conform with EC regulations on Novel Food EIHA has assembled a consortium of member companies to take forward a number of Novel Food application for enriched and isolated cannabinoids.
If it is successful with the challenge it will still press ahead with Novel Food applications for CBD isolates and synthetic CBD.
EIHA is set to launch toxicology studies in the next few weeks to assist with these applications.
2015 EU Novel Food Regulations Article 4, as follows:
Procedure for determination of novel food status
1. Food business operators shall verify whether or not the food which they intend to place on the market within the Union falls within the scope of this Regulation.
2. Where they are unsure whether or not a food which they intend to place on the market within the Union falls within the scope of this Regulation, food business operators shall consult the Member State where they first intend to place the novel food. Food business operators shall provide the necessary information to the Member State to enable it to determine whether or not a food falls within the scope of this Regulation.
3. In order to determine whether or not a food falls within the scope of this Regulation, Member States may consult the other Member States and the Commission.
4. The Commission shall, by means of implementing acts, specify the procedural steps of the consultation process provided for in paragraphs 2 and 3 of this Article, including deadlines and the means to make the status publicly available. Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 30(3).