For the past few years, the CBD industry in both the UK and Europe has been growing at an unprecedented rate. Although the market, and knowledge in and around the industry, still stands slightly behind how rapidly things have moved in America – industries in the UK and Europe have still boomed, and continue to do so. In January 2019, a moment that you could also stamp as the period that CBD was moving firmly from the fringes of health foods and into the mainstream, the European Union officially listed CBD extracts and isolates under the Novel Foods act.
The European Union officially listed CBD extracts and isolates under the Novel Foods act.
At the time, some may have viewed this piece of legislation as somewhat archaic. The novel foods act defines food “that has not been consumed to a significant degree by humans in the EU before 15 May 1997”. Now, seeing as the benefits of hemp have only been rediscovered on a large scale in the West in the last decade, it seems evident that of course it was not consumed “to a significant degree by humans in the EU’ in 1997.
But like most things that fall through the echelons of bureaucracy, this legislation is essentially a paperwork task for CBD producers and manufacturers. That is to say, that this novel food ruling should in no way have impeded the product, sales, and consumption of CBD in the UK and the EU over the past couple of years.
The novel food act still very much allows for items listed as ‘novel foods’ to be sold, but they require an application and certification for their status.
It has been well known within the industry for quite some time that the novel food act was going to be implemented across countries in the EU as well as the UK. Some companies may have been hesitant when it came to the UK and questioned whether Brexit would impact this, i.e. would the European Commission still have ruling power.
So what do we know? Those in the industry should have known, for some time now, that the applications for Novel Food status must be submitted by the 31st of March. This is all manufacturers and producers of CBD. And the applications for novel food status are not granted per company, but rather per product, meaning that all products which are manufactured in the same way will only require one certificate. But a manufacturer may have to submit several applications if they produce a variety of products and product forms.
The information that certificates are granted due to the production process and not with the company name has a seismic impact on what this means for many sellers and resellers of CBD products. We’re going to explain this in greater depth in just a second.
But first, we feel, it’s crucial to address the uncertainty that the seemingly sudden imposition of the 31st of March deadline for novel food status application has created in and around the CBD industry. A feeling of panic has been cast across white label, private label and wholesale clients. There is palatable anxiety from these clients asking will their products be taken off the shelves? Will they be able to continue their business? Who is responsible for obtaining the correct certifications? And how do they stay up to date with the apparently constantly moving rules on legislation?
As everyone reading this should know, we are working in the industry of health and wellness, and a very substantial part of our mission is to help people find calm, naturally. So, what needs to be done? Instead of breeding panic, we – the custodians of the CBD industry – need to take some of our own medicine and calm down.
In terms of regulation, there has been a breakthrough this week for full-spectrum CBD as the EIHA (European Industrial Hemp Association) Novel Food Consortium passed an administrative check by the FSA (Food Standards Authority). The EIHA release the following statement:
“We are delighted to announce that both regular/full-spectrum and natural isolate products of EIHA consortium partners can remain for sale on the UK market, following both applications passing the key administrative check by the UK FSA.”
Moving forward, everyone (both suppliers and clients) needs clarity. And this means clarity at every step of the process in the supply chain. The greater the transparency, the more trust we can build in this industry, which will ultimately attract more customers, more clients, and much greater investment. If we continue to build in this way we can create more jobs, employ more people, and get our great products out into the world to even more people.
As long as the product which you are supplying is of good quality and abiding by the regulations and guidelines, you are fine – there is nothing to worry about and no good reason to panic. And an even less good reason to spread panic further down your supply chain! In this arena, the only ones who ought to be worrying are those cutting corners in their extraction and formulation process. This could look like a low-quality CBD extraction being used in products and a company that does not invoke independent third party laboratory testing, either because they simply don’t want to pay for it or because they have something to hide which would be revealed in the results.
So instead of viewing the need for this certification as a challenge, the industry should take it as a great opportunity to evolve and promote greater transparency amongst each other and a wider potential customer base. Like any new industry, the CBD market and those working in and around it, will need to stay on top of the latest education and political opinions as well as regulatory and legal requirements.
Stuart McKenzie, our Reakiro CEO, puts it quite simply:
“In my opinion, greater transparency to protect and educate the consumer will only be positive for the industry and allow it to truly flourish. The European CBD market is predicted to grow 400% in the next four years. Timing is everything and the time is now!”Stuart McKenzie
If you’re a CBD manufacturer or supplier, this is your opportunity to remain calm and act like a leader. Promoting transparency along your supply chain, and communicating fully with white label, private label and wholesale customers about this piece of legislation and how this affects the company and sales of products will build a healthier trusting relationship and consequently a healthier business.