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Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance

Healthcare, Life Sciences & Chemicals

UK Food Standards Agency issues warning to suppliers of CBD food products

As reported in our Green Rush Series, regulators in the UK have been slow to take enforcement action against suppliers of CBD food products. This has partly been due to a number of uncertainties in the law governing the treatment of CBD food products.

However, this is set to change as the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA), the UK regulator for food and supplement products, announced earlier today that businesses operating in the CBD food industry will have until 31 March 2021 to submit a valid novel food authorisation in respect of the CBD food product.

Failure to submit a valid authorisation by the deadline could result in enforcement action being taken against the CBD product in question (e.g. removing products from shop shelves). The consequences of such enforcement action could have significant and lasting reputational damage for the product and companies involved throughout the supply chain. It is therefore critical that businesses operating in the CBD market in the UK look to assess whether their products are subject to regulation and require approval.

In addition, the FSA has also raised concerns in connection with the inadequate labelling of CBD food products and the lack of information available to the consumer regarding the product's contents. The FSA has also advised pregnant women against consuming CBD food products and recommended healthy adults not to take more than 70mg a day. Accordingly, businesses will need to ensure that the products they manufacture or sell have undergone adequate testing and are labelled appropriately.