EU novel food and the legal status of CBD oil

There have been times when the Cannabidiol market in Europe suffered neglect because its safety for consumption was in doubt. However, in recent times, we have witnessed experts express that there is hope for cannabis products.

(This is an ‘Opinion‘ article, written by one of our readers.  Click HERE to learn how to get your article published)

Research results conducted by market experts, reveals that despite past and present hurdles, the European CBD market is going to experience a boom in the very near future. Speaking about past and present hurdles, the Cannabidiol (CBD oil) market has had to face things like the need for licenses to be attached to its medical products, and there is the current hurdle of the Novel Food status that is attached to its food and products.

The Novel Food Commission

With that said, the novel food status wave began in 2016. In that year, it was announced at the Novel Food Commission meeting held in Brussel that CBD products would soon be regarded as Novel food. Following that, by January 2019, the same decision was announced that the European Food Safety Association (EFSA) will enlist CBD oil and other CBD products in the Novel food catalog. This decision was implemented soon after.

This current state of things has given a rise to questions regarding the legality of CBD oil in the EU.  In answer to the legality of CBD oil, we would explain what novel food really is, how the EFSA’s decision directly affects the legality of CBD oil in the European Union, and if CBD products have been abused in recent times.

The Concept Of Novel Food Status Explained

There are certain foods currently in the market that possess no significant history of consumption, but are presently attempting to attain mass consumption. Such products that lack a significant history of consumption are novel foods. By history of consumption we mean that prior to May 1997, it was not widely consumed in the European Union.

An example of such food is the bread that is baked through the use of ultraviolet rays. Despite the fact that it possesses a good amount of vitamin D, it has no history of being consumers favorite dough and batter treat with historical records of mass consumption. This of course is because it is produced through the use of a newly invented technological process. Going on, novel foods also includes foods that are consumed in only a handful of countries outside the European Union.

Having said that, asides from the fact that novel foods are edibles that were not widely used before May 1997, there’s a couple of other principles that makes a food get listed among novel foods.

According to the European Union, the food should not negatively influence the consumer. Secondly, it should be totally safe for consumption. Lastly, if it is intended to be a replacement for another food, it should not have nutritional disadvantages, or be vastly different from the previous food in a way that will make the consumer experience nutritional deficits.

So, according to the provisions of the Novel Food Regulations,  foods that are enlisted in the Novel Food catalog will need to be examined and certified to be good for use before they are then sent to the market for sales.

The decision by the European Food Service Commission to include Cannabidiol on the list of Novel Foods is justified by the fact that it was not significantly consumed in the EU before May 1997. This has of course affected Cannabidiol products like CBD oil.

The Divergence From Medical to Food Supplements

Flowing from the above, you should understand that the drag on the suitability and legality of Cannabidiol products have been ongoing since a year after the production of Kanavape (a medical product) in 2015. In 2016, after the product had become widely popular and accessible online, especially in the U.K, the regulatory agency for medical and health products made it known that before a CBD product is advertised for treating medical conditions like spasms, and chronic pain, the product must first be licensed.

Being unable to meet the licensing regulations, the Cannabidiol market diverted from the production of medical products, to the production of food supplements. Shortly after such food supplements hit the market, the U.K’s Food and Standard Agency (FSA) initiated and announced a change in the regulations that govern novel food. The FSA clearly stated that if the CBD food supplements cannot be proven to have been satisfactorily consumed before May 1997, then they must be evaluated before they are authorized to be sold to consumers.

The team that is handling the novel food catalog has reported that CBD is obtained from cannabis sativa, and cannabis sativa has had no proper consumption prior to May 1997. So, CBD products and oils must be evaluated and certified safe before they are sold.

Moving Forward For Consumers Of CBD Oil Products

The Food Standard Agency has given no objection to CBD products being called novel food by the European Union. However, consumers have been advised to consult the list of novel foods whenever they need to be sure of if the Novel food regulations applies to a product that they wish to purchase. Also, the World Health Organization has recently reviewed the safety of CBD in relation to drug abuse and dependence.

The organization reported that no public health problems have arisen from the use of CBD products such as the CBD oil. So, the products are safe. All that’s needed is for the principles of novel foods to be met before these products are sold.

On a final note, while CBD oil and related products have not been strictly banned by the World Health Organization, Food Standard Agency and the European Union, the CBD market still has to subject its supplements to evaluation before they can be sold. The essence of such legality is to ensure that it won’t negatively influence the consumer, and that it is safe for consumption.

Rate this article: 
Select ratingGive EU novel food and the legal status of CBD oil 1/5Give EU novel food and the legal status of CBD oil 2/5Give EU novel food and the legal status of CBD oil 3/5Give EU novel food and the legal status of CBD oil 4/5Give EU novel food and the legal status of CBD oil 5/5
Regional Marijuana News: 

Source: 420 Intel – Europe

Leave a Reply