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UK Industry Body Sets Deadline for CBD Novel Foods Applications

By Leo Bear-McGuinness

Published: Dec 11, 2019   
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Several CBD companies in the UK have just taken their first steps towards European Union (EU) approval.

With assistance from the Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI), the companies are applying for ‘novel foods’ authorisation from the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) – a safety standard that is increasingly becoming a must-have marker for CBD companies operating within the EU.

Any ACI members looking to start their novel foods application process can do by December 20, according to the CBD industry body.

A novel quality

The EU consider any food “novel” if it hasn’t been consumed to a significant degree by humans in Europe before 15 May 1997, when the regulations were introduced.

Back in January, the European Commission announced that CBD products, and products containing the cannabis compound, should be considered as novel foods, and so shouldn’t be sold without further testing and authorization.

The Novel Food Catalogue isn’t legally binding, but many EU member states abide by it and so may prohibit the sale of CBD products unless they have been approved by the EFSA.

So, as a crucial step towards creating an EU-compliant CBD industry in the UK, the ACI has partnered with the pharmaceutical service company Global Regulatory Services to help with its members’ novel food applications.

Evaluated criteria include a company’s lab standards, its regulatory compliance, and the state of its equipment used for testing.

“Through a thorough analysis of world-class testing laboratories we were able to identify the ideal partners to assist ACI, ensuring we compile watertight novel foods applications for our members,” Dr Sarah Gaunt of Global Regulatory Services said in a statement. “This enables us to create a solid foundation for building a responsible and safe industry in Europe and beyond.”


ACI have notified all its members to sign up for novel food applications before the December 20 deadline. The date was chosen to ensure all testing can commence in the new year and actual applications are submitted to the EFSA within 3 to 6 months.

“As more European countries enforce regulations based on EFSA’s novel foods classification of CBD, it is essential ACI take this important first step to demonstrate we have a clear plan to ensure legal compliance for the industry within the UK and EU,” Dr Parveen Bhatarah, ACI’s regulatory and compliance lead, said in a statement.

The ACI and its parent health body, the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis, have previously called out the UK CBD industry’s inconsistent testing standards, which they claim allow companies to “shop around” for favourable results that don’t reflect the products’ true contents.

To address this oversight, the industry bodies are undertaking a review of analytical testing among CBD companies, to help establish robust, standardized methods for analytical labs.

Leo Bear-McGuinness

Science Writer & Editor

Leo joined Analytical Cannabis in 2019. From research to regulations and analysis to agriculture, his writing covers all the need-to-know news for the cannabis industry. He holds a Bachelor's in Biology from Newcastle University and a Master's in Science Communication from the University of Edinburgh.


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