Cannabidiol and the EU novel food guidelines

What are novel foods and how does this apply to CBD?

You may have heard the term ‘novel foods’ before – essentially these are foods that have not been widely consumed by people in a specific population, for example, the EU (before May 1997). This essentially means these food products do not have a history of consumption.

Therefore, as you can most likely imagine CBD slots right into this gap. Other novel foods include:

  • Traditional foods e.g. chia seeds (often eaten in other countries)
  • Foods which are treated with ultraviolet light to increase vitamin D
  • Products which do not have a rich history of consumption (in any country)

The novel food authorization is responsible for ensuring all of these foods are safe for consumers – these food products include CBD.

What are the EU novel food guidelines?

For any ‘novel food’ product, including CBD to be marketed within the EU market and within the UK the product is first required to undergo a market safety assessment and authorization process.

This assessment applies to any food/ingredient which hasn’t been used in both the EU and the UK for human consumption to a large extent since May 1997. As CBD is relatively new to the market, CBD also has to meet these guidelines.

The food must be:

  • New or modified (e.g. molecular structure)
  • Micro-organisms, cell culture, fungi, or algae
  • Food produced by new production processes

In particular, here CBD falls under a food product produced by a new production process. CBD itself is relatively new, while the production processes are also regularly changing, thus requiring authorization from the novel food authorization.

So, what other novel food guidelines apply to CBD?

Likewise, for all novel food products, including CBD to be given the seal of approval they must be as following:

  • Not misleading to the consumer
  • Safe for consumption and use
  • Not to replace other foods that could potentially place consumers at a nutritional disadvantage

These also coincide with the EU food supplement guidelines for CBD products. For example, these guidelines also highlight the need to package products correctly including labels such as: ‘keep out of reach of children’, ‘store in a cool and dry place’, and not conveying medical claims such as: ‘our CBD oil will cure your arthritis’.

When sitting down to market/design your product we recommend looking at the novel food guidelines and the EU food supplement guidelines together. This will allow for a bigger picture of what you can and cannot state regarding your CBD product or product line.

Where do the current Novel food guidelines apply to?

More and more countries are recognizing CBD as a novel food, with this already causing disruption in the German CBD market. This decision comes as CBD can neither be classified as prescription medicine or a novel food, falling somewhere in the middle.

As of currently, the vast majority of CBD products are still available for purchase in the majority of the EU and the UK.

However, as for America, individual states are following different guidelines. Therefore, it’s essential to look up your state/country beforehand to ensure you meet these guidelines if required.

With that being said we suggest following these novel food guidelines closely alongside the EU food supplement guidelines (if operating within the EU). This is because these may be enforced at a later date, perhaps with little to no notice.

Failure to comply with these regulations will inevitably impact your CBD product(s) and business. Therefore, jumping the gun now and addressing these regulations is by far the best approach.

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To finish

CBD novel food? Novel food guidelines? What do all of these mean? The novel food guidelines are put in place to ensure safe consumption of new food products to the EU market since as of May 1997.

Although these novel food guidelines do not apply to every country nor every state in America, it is most definitely worth jumping the gun and tackling these early.

This will increase the marketability of your product, professional look, and, inevitably once these novel food guidelines are introduced everywhere your CBD product(s) will already comply, taking you one step ahead of your competition.