UK boasts 12,000 products on FSA public list, racing ahead of EU and US competition

01 Jul 2022 --- The UK’s Food and Standard Agency (FSA) has reached a “milestone” after authorizing almost 12,000 cannabinoid (CBD) products to its public list of items that can be marketed in England and Wales.

“The list brings clarity for consumers and retailers and confidence that the industry is engaging and investing in long-overdue product safety regulation,” Steve Moore, founder, Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI), tells NutritionInsight.

“It is an indication that the UK is moving faster than the EU and US at advancing safety regulation.”

Market approval

In March, FSA published a list of CBD products permitted for sale, containing some 3,500 companies. The number has since jumped to 12,000 though further requests to have products put on the public list or evidence sent are no longer being accepted. 

‘We have seen the list grow considerably since March when we first published it,” says Rebecca Sudworth, director of policy, FSA.

“The publication of the initial list prompted several companies to come forward with new evidence linking large numbers of individual products to existing applications. So we made a final call for evidence to support businesses in achieving compliance for their products.”

Only CBD products featured on the FSA’s list have been greenlighted to stay on the market, in line with the UK’s novel food requirements.

“We think it is important we get this right, and it is encouraging that so many companies want to get their CBD products on the path to authorisation,” Sudworth adds.

Industry “milestone”
Businesses can continue to apply for authorisation of CBD food products however, new applications will not be eligible for the public list and should not be put on sale until they have been authorized, Sudworth specifies.

Moore explains that companies can continue to apply – and are doing so – but the list is exclusively for products listed for sale on 12 February 2020.   

“The list has grown to nearly 12000 and is now considered closed. Further additions will only be by exception and judged on a case-by-case basis. Local authorities have been updated on the status of the list,” says Paul Tossel, team leader for novel foods, FSA.

“This has been a long and complex process. We are grateful for the help and cooperation of the CBD industry as we reach this important milestone on the path to bringing CBD products into compliance and protecting consumers,” says Rebecca Sudworth, director of policy, FSA.

“The only changes we envisage being made to the list now will be to reflect the status of products as we move to authorization and any routine corrections.” The ACI is organizing a webinar for companies which applied but did not make the list. Details will be announced at a later date. 

Government support
The FSA has described the list as a milestone, stating that the UK is the first country in the world to introduce a regulated market for orally consumed, non-psychoactive legal cannabis extracts.

The CBD sector in the UK has an estimated value almost US$1 billion, exceeding 2021 sales predictions.

Recently, a review published by professor Christopher Hodges addressed the need for the UK government to “turbocharge” in imposing regulations and safety measures to meet rising consumer demand. He also emphasized the industry’s importance in supporting safe innovations in the CBD sector.

The government recently hosted an educational webinar on safe extraction processes of CBD for industry and control laboratories to ensure safe practices for food supplements.

According to the FSA,  there are currently no authorized CBD products on the market, emphasizing that “consumers should continue to think carefully before consuming CBD products because we don’t know a lot about them.”

The FSA states: “People should refer to the FSA’s precautionary consumer advice, which says that those who are pregnant, breastfeeding or taking any medication should not consume CBD products. The FSA recommends no more than 70mg (about 28 drops of 5% CBD) daily, unless under medical direction.“

By Beatrice Wihlander


Photo by CRYSTALWEED cannabis on Unsplash