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What the FSA Novel Food list means for UK CBD consumers

Everything you need to know as a CBD consumer in the UK

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What the FSA Novel Food list means for CBD consumers
Thousands of products, which did not make the list, now face being removed from shelves.

The FSA has today published its anticipated list of credible Novel Food applications, but what do you need to know as a CBD consumer in the UK?

One year on from the deadline for Novel Food applications on 31 March 2021, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has published its first list of products which are expected to be authorised for sale in the UK.

The list features a total of around 3,500 ingestible products which are considered to be attached to a credible Novel Foods application. 

This does not include products which are deemed “cosmetic” such as CBD skincare or transdermal patches. 

However, although the products on the list are classed as “credible”, their inclusion does not guarantee they will receive full authorisation.

It is actually unlikely that any applications will be considered for authorisation before early to mid-2023. 

The products included on the list will be able to remain on the market as they progress towards final authorisation. 

Thousands of other products, which did not make the list, now face being removed from shelves.

Read more industry insight on the FSA list on Cannabis Wealth

What do you need to know when buying CBD?

Although the products published are attached to credible applications, the FSA has made it clear that this does not mean it has deemed these products as safe. 

As it stands the list is split into two-tiers, those products which have already been validated and those awaiting evidence.

 Inclusion on the list as it stands does not mean that product will automatically be authorised.

The products are yet to undergo a full safety assessment, which could take up to nine months.

According to Emily Miles, chief executive of the FSA, “being on the list means that the application is credible and the FSA has, or is shortly expecting to receive, significant scientific evidence from the applicant with which to judge safety.”

How do I know if a product is on the list?

You can search for a product via the FSA public list, which is available here 

Industry trade body, the Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI), has also developed a website, in collaboration with Trading Standards, to help consumers search for validated CBD products.

The website – ukcbdlist.com – includes an exhaustive list of all products which are now allowed to remain on shelves as they progress toward official authorisation as safe for consumption.

If your favourite product is not on the website, it is likely that it has not submitted a credible Novel Food application. 

What about those products not on the list?

Local authorities, retailers and consumers can use the list to make informed judgments about what they stock and what they buy.

Following the publication of today’s list, local authorities will be able to remove products that are not included from sale in the UK.

According to The ACI, it is expected that every major retailer, including online sellers such as Amazon, will now be forced to remove certain products from its shelves. 

The FSA is advising local authorities which enforce the novel food legislation to encourage food businesses whose products are not included to voluntarily withdraw their products from the market. 

The FSA says it expects authorities to enforce the regulations but to “prioritise appropriately” in regards to its other responsibilities.

Miles said: “Our request is to retailers in particular to be responsible and make sure that they are not selling products that aren’t on the list.”

What is your responsibility as a CBD consumer?

As a consumer you can also help enforce a regulated CBD industry, by making Trading Standards aware if you come across products which are not on the list.

If you are concerned about a product, the website ukcbdlist.com currently includes citizens advice guidance for reporting to Trading Standards.

Leila Simpson, ACI innovation director, commented: “Unfortunately Trading Standards has limited capacity and resources, so we are doing what we can to help consumers report non-compliant products directly to them, so they can be more targeted in their enforcement.

“This forum has been developed in collaboration with Trading Standards and has everything they need to begin an investigation into the products. It’s not a guarantee that they will investigate that product, but it’s a good starting point for them and we’re happy to be able to help facilitate this for the benefit of the end consumer.”

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Sarah Sinclair is a respected cannabis journalist writing on subjects related to science, medicine, research, health and wellness. She is managing editor of Cannabis Health, the UK’s leading title covering medical cannabis and CBD, and sister title and Psychedelic Health. Sarah has an NCTJ journalism qualification and an MA in Journalism from the University of Sunderland. Sarah has over six years experience working on newspapers, magazines and digital-first titles, the last two of which have been in the cannabis sector. She has also completed training through the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society securing a certificate in Medical Cannabis Explained. She is a member of PLEA’s (Patient-Led Engagement for Access) advisory board, has hosted several webinars on cannabis and women's health and has moderated at industry events such as Cannabis Europa. Sarah Sinclair is the editor of Cannabis Health. Got a story? Email sarah@prohibitionpartners.com / Follow us on Twitter: @CannabisHNews / Instagram: @cannabishealthmag

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