Laws and Regulations

Regulation of CBD in the Food Industry

Written by Lisa Rennie

As a consumer, you expect that the food you buy from the grocery store is suitable for consumption. And the government has steps and regulations in place to ensure that all food and beverage products available for purchase and consumption are safe for use.

That’s precisely why the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) exists, so that consumers can rest easy knowing that they’re using products that have passed rigorous tests before they’re made available.

But what about cannabidiol (CBD)-infused foods and beverages? They’re currently not regulated by the FDA, so how can consumers be certain that these products are actually safe?

Plenty of research has already been done on CBD to show its beneficial effects on overall health and wellness. And, apart from that, there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence to support the benefits of CBD.

But CBD in food and beverage products is still illegal at the federal level. Even though the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp, the FDA still has the authority to regulate products with hemp-derived cannabinoids. That said, it’s illegal to add CBD in a food product under federal law, but many CBD food companies are doing this, and the FDA is aware of it.

Any time CBD or any cannabinoid from cannabis or hemp is added to FDA-regulated foods, beverages, cosmetics, or supplements in interstate commerce and marketed as such, the FDA has legal enforcement over them.

Up until recently, most of the CBD products out there have been in the form of lotions, tinctures, oils, and capsules sold in local- or state-level dispensaries. But with food products–particularly those that are sold and distributed across state lines–the issue of legality comes to light.

Considering this, as well as the fact that there seems to be a real demand for CBD foods among the general public, the FDA is seriously considering regulating CBD in food. In fact, Rep. Kurt Schrader and Rep. Morgan Griffith introduced a new bill earlier this month in the House. This legislation would provide a framework for regulating hemp-derived CBD as supplements.

Despite the explosion of CBD’s popularity in the medical and wellness sphere, questions still loom about how safe CBD is and whether companies are placing themselves at risk for legal action by marketing their products in an FDA-regulated world before the necessary legal framework has been ironed out.

Since hemp has long been associated with cannabis, the research behind safe dosages and long-term effects of CBD is still somewhat lacking. Until then, the FDA is under some pressure to hash out its regulations surrounding CBD food products, and the companies that develop and market them may need to tread lightly in an unregulated environment.

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About the author

Lisa Rennie

Lisa Simoneli Rennie has been working as a freelance writer for more than a decade, creating unique content dedicated to informing consumers. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience with others, and in her spare time, Lisa enjoys trying funky new recipes, spending time with her dog, and of course, reveling in the joy of family.