The ramifications of the publication of the FSA's Public List continue to affect the stock market this week, with the agency issuing a final appeal for evidence after various CBD companies presented the Food Standards Agency (FSA) with new data tying many products to applications.
The FSA went on to say that this was an unanticipated development and that businesses should have presented such evidence far sooner.
Now, businesses have until 26 May 2022 to prove that their products were on the market prior to February 2020 and are linked to a valid application.
Many continue to criticise the FSA's stance. Companies not included on the list face a real risk of losing money and gaining a bad reputation. The head of Legal Foods has gone so far as to say the list is “discriminatory and nonsensical.”
Violation of the FSA’s novel foods guidelines
A spokesman for the Center for Medicinal Cannabis says that a major concern is the rising number of stories regarding newly formulated and white labelled products coming onto the market since February 2020. Evidently, certain manufacturers deliberately provided services to businesses that were in violation of the FSA's novel foods guidelines. Moreover, it is unclear whether the applicants who failed to submit plans for generating toxicological data have removed those products from the market.
Companies who buy white label products are only now finding out and being asked for proof that they were on the market before the deadline, although the suppliers were fully aware that they weren't.
Which products can be added to the CBD list?
Strictly CBD food products which meet the following criteria can be added to the list:
- Products that were on the market when the announcement was made on 13 February 2020
- The FSA received an authorisation application for the products before 31 March 2021
- The FSA validated the application or agreed that it is adequately advancing towards validation
Local authorities and companies can contact the FSA to check if any products that aren't on the list are due to be added. No CBD products have yet been approved for sale in the United Kingdom, and validated applications will now be subjected to a thorough scientific risk evaluation. According to the Director of Policy at the FSA, Rebecca Sudworth, “There will continue to be a degree of change in the short term as the process continues. Certainty will only come after authorisation of CBD applications is achieved.”
It's worth noting that CBD products intended to be inhaled or applied to the skin are exempt from the regulations. These were not evaluated and will not be included in the list.
Why are there novel foods guidelines?
Novel food guidelines are in place as the industry is in need of regulation and order. Unfortunately, there are a number of dodgy, low-quality products on the market. This is one of the reasons the industry needs policing. However, many see the current measures as wholly unnecessary. Drug regulations would have limited controlled substances without each product having to go through rigorous tests.
FSA issues final deadline – What happens after the deadline?
According to Sudworth, the FSA will update the list twice before the end of June. Thereafter, no new products will be added. Any changes afterwards will only note changes to the status of products in the novel foods authorisation process.
It seems that the damage has been done. Many key players view the whole thing as a fiasco that has stunted and disrupted the industry for two years.
Hopefully, the companies impacted – and the industry itself – can be rectified. Only time will tell.
You may also like to read: FSA to publish list of approved CBD brands that can be sold in the UK