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FSA releases stark warning to CBD producers targeting pregnant women and vulnerable people

Published:  13 February, 2020

The Food Standards Authority (FSA) has broken its silence on CBD to issue a statement urging businesses to be upfront about potential health risks and suitability for vulnerable groups.

In a first of its kind statement, the regulator said distributors will have to adhere to a number of measures designed to make sure products are “authorised” and accurately display health warnings.

This includes applying for a Novel Food licence and making it clear that pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and people taking medication should not consume products containing CBD.

Healthy adults are also being advised to “think carefully” before taking CBD, with the FSA recommending no more than 70mg a day.

“CBD products are widely available on the high street but are not properly authorised,” Emily Miles, chief executive of the FSA, said. “The CBD industry must provide more information about the safety and contents of these products to the regulator before 31 March 2021, or the products will be taken off the shelves.”

Harpers has been closely following the growth of the fledgling CBD industry in the UK and the increasing overlap with drinks.

As consumer goodwill towards CBD – a naturally occurring part of the cannabis plant – grows around the world and particularly in the US, there have been calls for clarity on the situation in the UK.

CBD has been classed as a Novel Food here for some time and required a Novel Food application, though the authorities appeared not to be actively enforcing the requirement.

Today, premium CBD producer, OTO, which is distributed by Enotria & Coe, welcomed the guidance for the better.

“Sadly, there are too many CBD brands out there whose products aren’t up to standard, so today’s announcement is good for both the consumer and for the CBD industry as a whole,” Gemma Colao, OTO’s MD and founder, said. “Improved regulatory framework will enhance the CBD industry’s credibility and ensure only reputable and effective products are available within the market.

“Furthermore, as a pregnant woman myself – expecting in four weeks – I completely understand and support the guidance protecting pregnant women and vulnerable groups. Since inception, we have provided this guidance on our own packaging.

Colao went on to say that OTO does not currently have a Novel Food licence. However, they will be “submitting an application with our partners next month”.

“This is a positive first step and the guidance offered for maximum daily usage reflects our own research of a recommended intake of between 40-60mg of CBD per day, which is sufficient to allow consumers to benefit from CBD,” Colao said.