Monday, April 22, 2024

Spurious ‘novel foods exempt’ claims from companies make the CTA’s Siân Phillips see red

Why ask a question to which you already know the answer? When one of the two co-executive directors of the Cannabis Trades Association (CTA) does just that, there must be a purpose in mind.

At the recent members meeting held by the Cannabis Industry Council (CIC) Siân Phillips asked Paul Tossell, the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) head of novel foods, “To your knowledge, is there any reason why a novel food, or any novel food, would be exempt?”

Mr Tossell had been speaking about the CBD novel foods process which has now been established and the public lists which the FSA publishes, setting out the current situation and the way ahead.

He responded, “Now we’ve had this discussion with a lot of people before, that they’re not exempt from the novel food regulation. Even the cold-pressed hemp ones are not exempt. It’s the definitions within it; it says, ‘are you classified as a novel food or not?’ So that’s the difference.

“It’s not that you’re exempt from the novel food legislation; you’re still subject to it. When you go through the filter, and you’ve got a history of consumption before ’97, ‘yes’—then you are not novel. If you have no history of consumption, you go onto the next filter which is the ten category. So it’s almost like a flow chart.”

Siân Phillips, co-executive director of the Cannabis Trades Association, received public clarification from Paul Tossell of the Food Standards Agency that all novel foods are subject to legislation; companies therefore cannot claim that their products are “exempt”, as some have been doing

Mrs Phillips was well aware of the facts, and colourfully told Mr Tossell and the listening members, “I just needed to hear it from the horse’s mouth, and for everyone else to hear it too.”

Later she set out her purpose to  CBD Business News. “I wanted to get it directly from the FSA to confirm it to those in the industry trying to get an unfair marketing advantage over legitimate businesses who have paid many thousands of pounds on toxicology data and testing to be on the list.”

She expressed her concern at the amount of marketing material she sees from companies claiming to be “novel foods exempt”. In keeping with the ‘horse’ theme, ‘cowboys’ were mentioned…

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