UK’s FSA unveils list of permitted CBD products

By Kavitha Sivasubramaniam contact

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags: Cbd, Fsa, cannabinoids

The UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) has released a list of cannabinoid (CBD) products which can be sold to consumers, becoming the first country globally to regulate the market for orally consumed, safe legal cannabis extracts.

The list is expected to be published in 2023, following two years of collaborative work between the FSA and the UK’s CBD sector trade organisation, the Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI). 

In line with its novel food requirements, only the CBD products on the FSA’s list are permitted to remain for sale in the UK market. Any others must now be taken off shelves.

A major milestone

Steve Moore, ACI founder, said: “The FSA public list represents a major milestone for the UK’s CBD category.

“It demonstrates the progress the sector has made to meet compliance requirements and creates greater regulatory certainty which, in turn, will increase levels of consumer trust, encourage investment in the sector, and promote innovation.

“ACI is immensely grateful for the work that our members and the FSA have put in to take this momentous step.”

Jeremy Willcocks, Partner at law firm Arnold & Porter, also welcomed the release. He said: “The release by the Food Standards Agency of the list of CBD products permitted for sale to consumers in England and Wales is an important milestone for the CBD sector in the UK.

"The announcement brings welcome legal certainty which will encourage investment in the CBD foods sector. The ACI has played an important role in this process and we congratulate the ACI for its terrific work.” 

The FSA had been rigorously assessing CBD products on the list under its novel food process for some time. It was open to those designed for oral consumption which were being sold in the UK up until 13 February 2020, with an application deadline of 31 March 2021.

Products launched after the February cut-off date are not allowed to be sold until full permission is granted unless a dossier was submitted by the March 2021 deadline.

ACI, which has led the CBD industry’s response to the process, submitted a ‘super dossier’ on behalf of its members to the FSA in February 2021. Many of these products now remain on the market as they await validation and authorisation.

The live phase of the OECD toxicology study needed to validate dossiers has now been completed by the ACI, with data analysis due to finish in June.

Moore added: “We are hugely proud that, through our consortium study, all members of the ACI have been included on the FSA’s public list, therefore earning the right to continue to be sold within the UK.”

Compliance checks

Trading Standards will be enforcing the new rules with immediate effect and all retailers selling CBD products – such as convenience stores, supermarkets, pharmacies, health food shops, cafes and restaurants – must now check if their products are compliant.

Committing to provide support for CBD companies that did not feature on the list, Moore added: “At this moment in time, we understand that, for some CBD businesses, the news will not be positive, and we openly invite those businesses to contact us at ACI to understand their next steps within this fledgling and rapidly growing market.

“We are here to support this industry and its community to thrive​.” 

The FSA’s list applies to products on sale in England and Wales, while Food Standards Scotland covers those on sale north of the border. In Northern Ireland, businesses must continue to adhere to EU procedures and rules for novel foods.

Related topics: Regulation & Policy, CBD / Hemp

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