THE European CBD industry is being given an opportunity to quiz UK regulators over the thorny issue of Novel Food as the deadline for compliance edges ever closer.
London-based experts The Canna Consultants has unveiled a unique platform for the industry to seek answers from the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
The event will involve two pre-recorded presentations from the FSA; One will cover its approach to Novel Food compliance, and the second, will elaborate on the nitty-gritty of a Novel Food dossier’s requirements.
The Podcasts will be uploaded on to The Canna Consultants website and are available to view, free to the industry – with a request to make a donation to the National Health Service.
Abundance Of Misinformation
Both presentations will also be accompanied by a Question and Answer session during which Paul Tossell, the FSA’s Novel Foods’ Lead, will elaborate further on any issues raised.
Steve Oliver, of The Canna Consultants, says it is asking industry members to submit these questions via its website before July 2.
These will then be presented to the FSA prior to the recording allowing them time to deliver a full and comprehensive response.
Mr Oliver told BusinessCann: “We are encouraging people to post questions via our website that we will in turn ask the FSA during our recorded ‘PodCast’. These will then be free to view with a request for a just giving donation to the NHS. It is our intention to obtain written answers from the FSA for any questions which are not answered orally during the recording.”
Matt Lawson, of The Canna Consultants, added: “We view this as a sharing and educational opportunity for the whole industry. People are rightly concerned about how they should proceed, there is an abundance of misinformation and, at a time when the trade associations are all pulling in different directions. We feel that this is an important initiative for the many in the industry, not just the few.”
Novel Food By March 2021
In February this year the UK FSA announced it expected all sellers and makers of ingestible and topical CBD products on the UK market to have an authorised Novel Food application submitted by March 31, 2021.
This is viewed as an existential threat to many UK CBD operators in a fast-growing market valued at over £400m. Those who fail to comply face having their products seized by Trading Standards.
The costs for a Novel Food Application seem to vary widely with estimates ranging from £100,000 up to £400,000 and this has seen some trade organisations look to forge consortia to deliver compliance.
One of the main sticking points for regulators is establishing the safety of CBD. In the US a joint trial is underway to monitor CBD use amongst almost 1,000 people.
Isolates To Dominate?
Here in the UK The Association for Cannabinoid Industry (ACI) is set to launch a joint trial on rodents and is seeking industry players to join a consortium to fund this.
These efforts will aim to satisfy regulators on the scientific, toxicology and ADME (Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism and Excretion) elements of the dossier.
Other live issues at play is who takes responsibility for collating all of the data in a Novel Food application; is it the raw material supplier or the brand which uses this as the base of its product range?
Other live issues in this regard are the suitability of whole plant extracts for a Novel food authorisation as the raw material will contain a, full, 100-plus cannabinoid profile along with terpenes and flavonoids.
Many in the industry believe that in the initial stages CBD isolates will come to dominate the market.
Paul Tossell, Novel Foods Team Leader at the FSA, said: “Food businesses should be applying for authorisation of their selective CBD extracts and isolates as this is the only route to compliance with novel foods legislation. I look forward to the opportunity to answer the industry’s questions and to outline the steps they need to take to ensure their products can be sold beyond March 2021.”
*The FSA’s stance on Novel Foods applies only to food additives, not vaping products or cosmetics which are governed by separate regulations.