EFSA pauses assessment of CBD as Novel Food

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The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is pausing assessments of CBD as a Novel Food “due to data gaps and uncertainties about potential harms”.

Following the classification of CBD as a Novel Food by the European Commission in 2019, which member states are free to follow or not, EFSA was commissioned to give the “Novel Food” stamp to CBD extracts from companies that would request.

A long, tedious and expensive file if ever there was one, EFSA has so far received 19 applications for registration of CBD extracts as novel foods, 5 of which have recently been validated by the European Commission, a preliminary phase to a review by EFSA.

Last February, the latter was to deliver its scientific opinion “within nine months from the date of receipt, noting however that extensions are possible if additional data are requested”.

So what happened. Professor Dominique Turck, chair of the Novel Foods and Food Allergens (NDA) panel, explains: “We have identified several dangers associated with the consumption of CBD and determined that the many data gaps on these health effects need to be filled. before these assessments can move forward. It is important to emphasize at this point that we have not concluded that CBD is unsafe as a food. »

According to the EFSA, there is therefore insufficient data on the effects of CBD on the liver, the gastrointestinal tract, the endocrine system, the nervous system and on the psychological well-being of people.

Companies that have filed Novel Food dossiers for their CBD extract will therefore have to provide additional evidence of safety before the EFSA resumes the study of their dossiers.

Ana Afonso, Head of Nutrition and Food Innovation at EFSA, said: “It is not unusual to stop the assessment of a new food when information is lacking. Applicants are responsible for filling data gaps. We engage with them to explain how additional information can be provided to help remove uncertainties. »

No deadline has been announced for the resumption of Novel Food validations but we bet it will take a few more years.

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