The novel food process has been met with backlash from many in the industry, but others see it as a positive step for the sector, as the co-founder of FourfiveCBD tells Cannabis Health.
Twelve months after the announcement of the Novel Food applications, the FSA continues to face criticism, pleas and outright attack from the CBD sector.
Some advocates, including CannaPro’s Peter Reynolds, believes the regulations are “completely pointless” due to the lack of evidence that CBD has caused significant harm to people’s health.
Echoing this sentiment are many small businesses which feel “shut out” by larger corporations due to the high costs associated with the application process.
The FSA has also been criticised by advocates of full spectrum extracts, as many products of this type could be deemed illicit following the 31 March deadline.
However, not all CBD companies are against the push for tougher regulations. Once of these is FourfiveCBD. The co-founder of the London-based business, Dominic Day, sees the Novel Foods Applications as a positive step for the CBD sector.
According to the FSA, the primary aim of the process is to ensure that CBD products on the market are safe for consumption. As former professional rugby players, Day and his business partner George Kruis decided to venture into the CBD industry for this very reason.
Dissatisfied with the unregulated nature of the sector but impressed by the benefits of CBD for their health and training, the duo set out to build a brand that fellow athletes could trust.
“It comes back to the whole reason that George and I got into the industry,” Day says.
“We were using products because we found them so beneficial and helpful to us during our careers, but we were just a little bit worried about the products we were using. We weren’t 100 percent sure how they were being made and whether that was being audited.”
Dom believes that novel foods is an important step towards building consumer confidence in CBD and growing the industry.
“If we can get to a point after this where all brands that are left on the market are safe, regulated products, it can only be beneficial for the industry,” Day adds.
Although the supplement is completely legal, Day says nutritionists still worry about the lack of regulation in the CBD market and are often reluctant to advise athletes to use CBD for this reason.
“We are constantly talking to government bodies and nutritionists, but a common thing that [they] come back to us with is ‘this market is so unregulated, this a little bit of a wild west.
“The CBD market isn’t 100 percent sure what’s out there, so I fully believe it will be a positive step for CBD in sport.”
When the whispers of novel food regulations began to be heard in early 2020, FourfiveCBD were quick to react, investing “a lot of time and money” to ensure it had the evidence needed to pass the testing.
Although it wasn’t “plain sailing” for the company, FourfiveCBD submitted its dossier as soon as the FSA window opened.
“It was something that we as a brand made a conscious decision to try and get ahead of,” Day said.
“We spent a lot of time and a lot of money and made sure that we’re going to be able to keep selling products after March.
“We spent near on nine months aligning ourselves with the right suppliers, the right manufacturers, just to make sure that our dossier was well put together with all the evidence that needed all the stability testing.”
Although Day believes that the overall impact of novel foods will be positive for the sector, he acknowledges the panic and confusion that can be seen across the industry. This is especially felt by smaller businesses which are struggling to finance the application process which is reported to cost hundreds of thousands of pounds.
“There are brands out there, [that] are really solid brands, but some might not be able to afford to do a novel foods application,” he says.
“It’s those people that I do really feel sorry for because they are doing things right, but they might get caught out in the long run.”
Day continues: “We are massive advocates in terms of growing the industry as a whole; we think the more consumers we can get, the better.
“Not necessarily using FourfiveCBD, using any product. The more people we can get through novel foods, the better. So hopefully, those brands can really jump in and get their dossiers together ahead of the March deadline.”
While many businesses are consumed by the novel foods applications, FourfiveCBD are already looking ahead to the rest of 2021.
The company recently launched a new line of non-CBD vitamins under the brand FourfiveNutrition and is solidifying its plans for expansion into the South African market in April.
Famous for its love of Rugby, Day and Kruis are drawing on their network of professional rugby players in South Africa to help promote the brand.
The company is also preparing to embark on a funding round in March or April.
Hoping to raise £500,000, Day says the company will use the funding to expand its team and invest in marketing and public awareness campaigns around the benefits of CBD.
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