The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is advising those who are pregnant, breastfeeding or taking any medication not to consume CBD products. Healthy adults are also advised to think carefully before taking CBD, and the FSA recommends no more than 70mg a day (about 28 drops of 5% CBD) unless under medical direction. This new precautionary advice is based on recent findings by the government’s Committee on Toxicity (COT).
In addition, has set a deadline for CBD businesses to provide more information about CBD products and their contents. It also advises vulnerable groups not to take CBD, and healthy adults to take no more than 70mg a day.
The FSA is giving the CBD industry a deadline of 31 March 2021 to submit valid novel food authorisation applications. After 31 March next year, only products which have submitted a valid application will be allowed to remain on the market. The authorisation process ensures novel foods meet legal standards, including on safety and content.
Local authorities enforce the novel food legislation. They have been advised that businesses should be able to sell their existing CBD products during this time provided they are not incorrectly labelled, are not unsafe to eat and do not contain substances that fall under drugs legislation.
Today’s announcement by the FSA on CBD extracts applies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Novel food regulations in Scotland are covered by Food Standards Scotland.
The FSA is the Central Competent Authority for food safety, however local authorities are responsible for the day to day enforcement of food law. The FSA issues guidance to support consistency in approach, but ultimately it is for local authorities to make specific enforcement decisions based on the facts of individual cases and circumstances.
Emily Miles, Chief Executive of the Food Standards Agency, said:
“CBD products are widely available on the high street but are not properly authorised. 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.
“Also today, we are advising that CBD could be risky for vulnerable groups, and suggesting an upper limit of 70mg a day for everyone else taking the product.
“The actions that we’re taking today are a pragmatic and proportionate step in balancing the protection of public health with consumer choice. It’s now up to industry to supply this information so that the public can be reassured that CBD is safe and what it says it is.’
Professor Alan Boobis, Chair of the Committee on Toxicity, said:
“My committee has reviewed the evidence on CBD food products and found evidence there are potential adverse health effects from the consumption of these products. We are particularly concerned about pregnant or breast-feeding women and people on medication.
“We don’t know enough to be sure about such a risk but I am pleased with the sensible and pragmatic approach the FSA is taking. The committee will continue to keep these products under review in the months ahead.’