Reports are already reaching CannaPro of Environmental Health and Trading Standards officers jumping the gun on novel foods enforcement, despite the FSA postponing any action until after 31st March 2021.
This guidance is intended to help CBD suppliers in any interaction with officials both before and after 31st March 2021.
Remember, not all of these officials are jobsworths who wish they were really in the police with a Taser and handcuffs but some are. It won’t help you if you are hostile towards them. Be submissive in your manner and concede everything except for the bottom line as set out below.
Before 31st March 2021
Your first response is simply to point out that the FSA has set a deadline of 31st March 2021 and until then “businesses should be able to sell their existing CBD products during this time provided they are not incorrectly labelled, are not unsafe to eat and do not contain substances that fall under drugs legislation.”
Show the officer this page on the FSA website: https://www.food.gov.uk/news-alerts/news/food-standards-agency-sets-deadline-for-the-cbd-industry-and-provides-safety-advice-to-consumers
If the officer claims that any THC makes the product illegal, explain that your products are ‘exempt products’ under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 and are within the limit permitted “no one component part of the product or preparation contains more than one milligram of the controlled drug”.
Show the officer this page from the regulations, specifically regulation 2.(1)(c): http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2001/3998/regulation/2/made
After 31st March 2021
(This advice applies only if you are selling genuine whole plant extracts. If your products are THC-free or in any way modified from the molecular content of the hemp from which they were extracted, then they are novel.)
Explain to the officer that your CBD products are not novel, are not ‘selectively extracted, do not concentrate CBD or remove or reduce other chemical components’. This is the definition of novel CBD products as as set out by the FSA. Explain also that your products are identical in molecular content to the hemp from which they were extracted.
Show the officer this page on the FSA website, pointing out the second and third paragraphs: https://www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance/cannabidiol-cbd
If the official does not accept your explanation and says they intend to seize your products – DO NOT RESIST! They do have the power to seize any product that they believe may be unlawful and if you obstruct them you may be liable to arrest. Your only option is to argue the issue in court.
Do ask the official if they will accept an undertaking from you (offer to provide it in writing) to withdraw the products from sale and remove them from public view.
Finally, if the official insists on removing your products, insist on being given a fully itemised receipt. If the official refuses to do this, call the police.
If Your Business is CannaPro Certified
Call or email for further advice, if necessary while the official is still with you.