How the FSA is moving forward with CBD regulation

When I first started  looking into CBD, one of the main things that stuck out to me was the lack of regulation. It seemed that many of the CBD products in the market were mis-selling, making it difficult for consumers to pick a CBD product off the shelf without doing prior research. The lack of legal clarity meant that consumers, although curious about CBD, were not ready to trust the products that were available.

This is something that I am sure has led many to question the efficacy of CBD as an ingredient especially after trying CBD products that did not deliver against their expectations or made misleading claims to start with. For some, the effects may not have been there at all causing them to think CBD does not work for them, when really, they may not have tried it at all!

In a 2019 research project, the Centre for Medical Cannabis found that less than half of the CBD products they tested were within 10% of the displayed CBD content, and almost half had illegal levels of THC in them. Shockingly, one of the products they tested, which was selling for £90, had no CBD in it at all!

What is truly unfortunate is that the few good CBD brands that are currently in the market are now lost amid a sea of bad players who are only in the CBD game to make a quick buck. I’m sure everyone will agree with me that this is something that seriously needs addressing so that the CBD market can truly flourish in the UK. Fortunately, as of February 2020, it appears as though the Food Standards Agency (FSA) is starting to take steps toward doing so.

What is the FSA doing to regulate CBD products?

In order to regulate the market and ensure the safety and legality of the CBD products available to our consumers, the Food Standards Agency is making all CBD companies fulfil novel food authorisation applications by the 31st March 2021.

Explaining the change, the FSA report on their site: “After 31 March next year, only products which have submitted a valid application will be allowed to remain on the market. The authorisation process ensures novel foods meet legal standards, including on safety and content.”

Emily Miles, the Chief Executive of the Food Standards Agency spoke more about why the FSA are starting to properly regulate CBD: “CBD products are widely available on the high street but are not properly authorised. The CBD industry must provide more information about the safety and contents of these products to the regulator before 31 March 2021, or the products will be taken off the shelves.  

“Also today, we are advising that CBD could be risky for vulnerable groups, and suggesting an upper limit of 70mg a day for everyone else taking the product. 
“The actions that we’re taking today are a pragmatic and proportionate step in balancing the protection of public health with consumer choice. It’s now up to industry to supply this information so that the public can be reassured that CBD is safe and what it says it is.”

These steps suggest that not only are the FSA offering general advice on how to take CBD, but they are also adding a line of defence between unfitting CBD companies and the consumer. This move is sure to make CBD-chancers, who are only entering the market as a get-rich-quick scheme, second guess their actions.

Scientists testing CBD oils

What is Kolibri doing?

Kolibri offer a range of drinks that put the power back in the hands of the consumer by enabling ingredient control. What makes us a unique CBD drink company, is that our products allow consumers to match their CBD dose to their day and to their mood. When we first heard about the steps being taken, we were over the moon.  These actions would not only weed out the CBD bad players, but also ensure that the market is filled with more reliable products and the consumers can feel at ease when buying them.

In order to stay ahead of the curve, we third-party test each batch of CBD that goes into our CBD infused drinks to ensure purity, quality and potency. Our products contain broad-spectrum CBD, meaning none of the psychoactive ingredient THC is present in the drink, as opposed to full-spectrum CBD products which can contain up to 0.02% legally in the UK.

I am glad that the FSA has started to take the necessary steps towards providing legal clarity when it comes to CBD. At Kolibri, we are always working towards ensuring that our products meet the standards, are effective and provide transparency of our processes and we truly believe that for a brand to flourish in the CBD space, consumer trust is the most important factor and should be at the heart of the brand.

About the author:

Kamila is a bestselling author of  Bespoke. How to radically grow your bar and restaurant business through personalisation, and passionate trend-spotter for the UK Eating Out market with thousands of followers on her widely popular blog

With a decade of hands-on experience collaborating with hospitality influencers and insight experts and background in setting strategies for leading brands, Kamila has become the industry champion for truly bespoke and guest-centric experiences.

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