Retailers throughout Britain are reportedly scrambling to remove certain CBD goods from their stores as regulators in the United Kingdom are cracking down on edible products that apparently fell short of compliance.
Bloomberg reported earlier this month that the “Food Standards Agency identified about 3,500 CBD products last week that passed the initial stages of its assessment, and recommended local authorities crack down on the many other edible items on store shelves that aren’t included on its list.”
The products, which include edibles and oils, “on the FSA’s list haven’t yet been approved, a process that usually takes as long as two years, but they do provide enforcement agencies a way to identify CBD edibles that haven’t been vetted at all,” according to Bloomberg.
Now, the news outlet is reporting that retailers are taking steps to remove products that have not received the government’s blessing. Amazon “said it’s in the process of removing any products not included in the Food Standards Agency’s list of about 3,500 CBD edibles,” according to Bloomberg, while health care retailer Holland & Barrett “said it has withdrawn four products from sale in an emailed statement.”
UK Officials React to Non-Compliant CBD Products
In a bulletin issued earlier this month, the Food Standards Agency, an independent government agency overseeing public health and consumer matters in Great Britain, provided guidance for retailers looking to sell CBD products, which have exploded in popularity in recent years.
“Novel foods, like CBD food products, must be authorised before they are put on the market to ensure they have been through an independent safety assessment,” the agency said. “Applications for authorisation of CBD food products are required as these products are considered a novel food having no history of consumption before May 1997.”
The agency said that the list of roughly 3,500 products “contains CBD food products, which are linked to a credible application for authorisation going through the novel foods process.”
“While the decision on enforcement on non-compliant novel foods remains with enforcement authorities, we have recommended to local authorities that any products which do not appear on the list or are marked as ‘Removed’ should be withdrawn from the market, as the related novel food application has been deemed unsuitable for progressing to authorisation,” the bulletin said.
The agency said that it was “not endorsing the sale of any CBD food products, regardless of whether on the list or not.”
In addition to Amazon and Holland & Barrett, Bloomberg reported that other “retailers say they are navigating a complex review of their inventory against the list published by FSA, which represents only a fraction of CBD products on sale in the country.”
A spokesperson for J Sainsbury Plc, Britain’s second-largest supermarket chain, stated that any product “not listed or confirmed to be part of an ongoing application with the FSA will be removed from sale immediately.”
Another grocery store chain, Asda Stores Ltd., “revealed that it had been in talks with the food regulator, which allowed it to continue selling all its CBD products pending further testing,” according to Bloomberg.
Although the recall will result in inconvenience and disruption, British regulators with the agency said that it was a more palatable option than the alternative.
“We had the option of shutting the industry down, in terms of every product could come off the shelves,” Paul Tossell, the head of novel foods at the Food Standards Agency, said in an interview with Bloomberg earlier this month. “But we took a practical approach now to help local authorities.”
Tossell continued, “People believe that this product is helping them so we took the practical solution to actually bring the industry into compliance without the drastic move of taking everything off.”