What are Novel Foods?

 You’ve probably heard the word “novel food” used to describe recently discovered food items like food made from new sources of Vitamin K, fermented soybeans, or even insects!.

By definition, novel foods are those that have never been consumed by people in the United Kingdom or the European Union before May 1977.

Simply said, they are an unconventional food group. They may be produced by means such as biotechnology or with engineered additives. Due to this unconventional nature, the British and European legislations state that novel foods need to go through a process of authorization before they are deemed safe and made available to the public for consumption.

According to European regulators, CBD food products are considered novel foods. Therefore, its ingredients in CBD products require pre-market authorization. Many experts refute this claim, and state that the use of cannabis in Europe, dates way before 1977. However, the fact remains that CBD products must go through an authorization process, to be legally sold. In any case, despite the questionable legality of the products, the influx of CBD products is gradually rising in the European markets, and this brings forth the risk of low-quality CBD products reaching customers. This has propelled the UK Food Standard Agency (FSA) to take action to make all CBD brands submit a Novel Food Application so that the products may become officially validated as Novel foods. 


Why did the FSA add CBD to the Novel Foods List?

CBD was added to the Novel Foods Catalogue because the EU CBD industry was patchy, at best, before and the FSA wanted to introduce clarity and standards.

In the EU, there were fluctuating CBD regulations depending on the region, with places like Spain and Austria removing CBD products without a Novel Foods certification from the shelves completely. Other areas in the European Union, and even across the world, turn a blind eye to hemp-derived CBD products on the shelves, so it makes things inconsistent and confusing for CBD companies and consumers.

This change might be overwhelming for CBD brands, but the transparent ones are excited about this positive change. The FSA requiring stringent, detail-oriented processes to sell CBD easily separates the get-rich-quick ers from the brands who are serious about CBD wellness. It’s a welcomed change, and with the right approach: it can only bring good things for the U.K. CBD market. It’s great for consumers, and great for businesses!


CBD as a Novel Food has its Advantages

The UK FSA states that for a product to be considered a Novel Food, it must comply with these three vital standards. It must be:

  • Safe to use
  • Appropriately labeled, so as not to mislead consumers
  • Fit for the purpose for which it is advertised. if a novel food product is intended to replace an already-existing product, it must not be nutritionally disadvantageous to the consumer.

As it stands, the status of being Novel Food can prove beneficial for CBD products and the CBD industry. Let’s discuss the major advantages:

  •  Reduces the flooding of low-quality CBD products in the market, which can be a risk to consumer
  •  Distinguishes the trustworthy CBD products
  •  Encourages the beneficial uses of CBD in business sectors such as; dermo-cosmetics, nutraceuticals, and pharmaceuticals.
  •  Changes the public perception of CBD products as being only for narcotic uses.

It is clear therefore that the declaration as CBD as a  ‘Novel Food’ can help validate, not just individual CBD products but the industry as a whole as well.


The Path to Becoming a Novel Food: The Application Process

In the UK, The Food Standards Agency regulates novel foods, and Trading Standards and Environmental Health Officers enforce the laws. 

UK law demands that all novel foods should be authorized before entering the market. To this end, companies have to make an application with the necessary authorities for authorization. 

For CBD products, the first step is the submission of the Novel food application. All applications are submitted for approval in the form of a dossier containing the following information:

  • Administrative information
  • Technical information, including the product manufacturing process, and the product composition.
  • Safety information, including risk assessment and risk management data.

All applications must also include the following:

  • Accompanying letter
  • Dossier summary
  • Public dossier summary

The collection of all this data has the sole purpose of clarifying the brand’s responsibility regarding its product. Product-specific characterization data is important when it comes to CBD products, because of the varying purity of the extracts used. There needs to be

Scientifically backed risk assessments on the product to further emphasize its safety. It’s obvious that the UK FSA meticulously goes through the novel food application. This process ensures to eliminate untrustworthy brands and products in the CBD market so that consumers have access to the best.


Looking for Novel Food Approved CBD?

CannGoods is proud to officially be Novel Foods certified in the UK & EU! If you’re looking to expand to the UK/EU market, reach out to us for a quote. We offer both white labeling and private labeling services and would be happy to talk to you about your vision as a CBD company.