German federal ministry maintains CBD’s novel food status
16 Mar 2020 --- Hemp and hemp-derived products will continue to be labeled as EU-wide novel foods (NF). This is the response of the German Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture (BMEL) to the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA)’s recent communication that it received the former’s support in the ongoing debate. The current NF status will not change until sufficient evidence of a “significant history of [cannabis and cannabis extracts] consumption in the EU before May 15, 1997” is provided. The BMEL regards the EIHA’s statement concerning food products containing CBD as “surprising” and “not understandable.”
“The NF classification was made after reviewing and evaluating all available information in the EU Member States and at the European Commission. Therefore, the views on the classification of cannabidiol (CBD) of the German Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) and the Federal Ministry do not differ. The position of the BVL has not changed,” a BMEL spokesperson tells NutritionInsight.
Regarding the correct assessment of the safety of CBD, the EIHA has long been butting heads with the BVL, an independent federal authority in the business area of the BMEL, which maintains its position that all hemp foodstuffs should fall under NF rules. The BVL maintains that products containing CBD must submit an authorization application for either a medicinal or NF product before the products are placed on the market.
However, the EIHA disagrees, stating that the BVL does not differentiate between extracts with the natural, full spectrum of cannabinoids contained in the hemp plant and products enriched with isolates or with cannabinoids. The EIHA’s President, Daniel Kruse, warns that BVL’s lacking clarification will likely catapult further uncertainty for the hemp food industry and for German consumers.
Nevertheless, the BMEL spokesperson underscores that the BVL is the “competent authority” regarding whether or not a product falls within the scope of the NF Regulation and coordinates its position with the federal states.
Uncertainty unrestricted around the world
Earlier this month, NutritionInsight spoke with Lorenza Romanese, Managing Director at the EIHA, who outlined that on top of eliminating its NF status, the hemp sector is asking for a clear and fair legal framework in the EU. “The assumption that not being classified as NF means not being classified at all is simply wrong. Given rules for food, cosmetics, feed and food supplements in the EU already exist, the EIHA appeals to the EU for these rules to be applied to hemp as well. We want a real single market for hemp-derived products like any other agri-crop.”
While the BMEL spokesperson affirms that the NF-contradicting proof “has not been given so far,” Romanese underscored that the EIHA has been busy collecting evidence demonstrating that hemp products have been consumed before May 15, 1997.
Across the Atlantic, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has indefinitely extended the public comment period on cannabis and CBD products. What was intended as a means of collecting more thorough scientific data throughout the cannabis supply chain, the Natural Products Association (NPA) has slammed the FDA for “risking a public health crisis by delaying necessary regulatory action on CBD.”
Just last week, the Utah State Legislature passed a resolution urging “the US Congress and the President to act quickly to protect US consumers by requiring the FDA to issue product quality and safe consumption guidelines for CBD products.” NPA has understood this as “another example of US federal states filling a vacuum created by the federal government’s inaction.”
“As an industry, we must continue working with policymakers at the state and national level to make real progress on regulating the growing CBD marketplace,” concludes Dr. Daniel Fabricant, President and CEO of NPA.
By Anni Schleicher
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