By / March 10, 2020

EIHA against BVL: CBD is not necessarily novel food

Within Germany and the European Union, there are still many open questions regarding the status of products containing the non- intoxicating cannabis active substance cannabidiol (CBD). The Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) in Germany had tried to classify all CBD products under the Novel Food Regulation. The European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) has now successfully defended itself against this.

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BVL brakes CBD industry with Novel Food classification

After the success of CBD-containing products as food supplements and in skincare, the young, burgeoning industry of health products made from cannabis was severely curbed in Germany when the BVL wanted to impose lengthy approval procedures on them by classifying them as a novel food.

Companies in other European countries also wanted to take legal action against the classification of cannabidiol, including legal action. Cannabis products are not new to the Europeans in the food sector, some of them have a long tradition. To call them novel food would, therefore, be absolutely wrong and unnecessary harassment for the industry.

EIHA contradicts the opinion of the BVL

On 20.03.2019, the BVL published its statement on food supplements with CBD, in which the products were declared as novel food subject to authorization or as medical products subject to authorization. The European Industrial Hemp Association contradicted this view. BVL’s general assessment was factually and legally incorrect and inaccurate.

Cannabidiol, as a non-psychological ingredient of commercial cannabis, has in fact been processed in food and consumed by humans for thousands of years. Accordingly, not all CBD products could simply be attributed to the Novel Food Regulation, as the BVL attempts to do.

The Federal Government of Germany supports the view that foods containing parts of the cannabis plant are not, in principle, “new” foods.. (Source)

Government shares EIHA view on cannabidiol and cannabis products

The President of the EIHA, Daniel Kruse, stressed that a distinction must be made here between extracts obtained by traditional extraction techniques, i.e. natural full-spectrum extracts, and products in which cannabidiol is processed as an isolate. For the products containing and enriched with isolates, however, the classification under the Novel Food Regulation would be correct and the term “novel” would be appropriate.

The German Federal Government and the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) share the view of the EIHA and made it clear: Foods containing parts of the cannabis plant are in principle not “novel” foods within the meaning of Regulation (EU) 2015/2283. However, this does not automatically apply to isolated CBD (cannabidiol) or extracts enriched with CBD.

BVL to revise its statements

Cannabis food produced with naturally obtained full-spectrum extracts is therefore not a novel food and does not require special approval. EIHA President Kruse calls this decision an important milestone for the hemp food industry.

The BVL should now revise its previous statements in the light of the statements of the government and the BMEL and correct the corresponding publications. The EIHA had also repeatedly requested the BVL for a meeting of experts. So far, however, the BVL had not agreed to do so.


(Featured image by Kimzy Nanney via Unsplash)

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