Ban on CBD in Food and Beverages?

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California, New York, and now Washington state, have all banned CBD in food and beverages. The timing may be a little off as everything from CBD-infused honey and coffee has been on the market for months, and in some cases, years. Ultimately, public safety is the priority and the FDA has protocol in place for such endeavors. The ban on CBD is most likely temporary.

According to the Washington State Department of Food and Drug Association, other products of hemp can still be used in or as food: hemp seed, hemp seed oil, and even hemp seed protein powder. It seems that the FDA has determined these hemp products are Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS). Additionally, they have implemented a panel to review CBD and report back to them this fall. This is part of the process of the FDA regulating CBD.

Washington’s reaction

For a better understanding of how this is affecting “on the ground” experiences, King County Department of Public Health issued the following response:

Public Health – Seattle & King County enforces the Washington State Retail Food Code, which prohibits the use of unapproved food additives, such as CBD, in food and beverages. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not recognize CBD as an approved food additive at this time. Until the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves CBD as a food additive and provides guidance to state and local health authorities, CBD will continue to be a prohibited additive in food and beverage products in King County. At Public Health, we are currently working to better understand the emerging issue of CBD in food and beverages.

CBD regulation

It does sound like the FDA genuinely hopes to ensure the safety and quality of the product before it is sprinkled on a child’s Cheerios. I respect and appreciate this. Without some sort of regulation or standards in place for the product being produced (CBD), we really have no way of knowing what we’re getting.

One of the strongest points made at the FDA hearing on May 31, 2019 was that 69% of CBD products currently on the market do not have the ingredients or percentages that they claim. The discrepancies varied from having more THC than claimed or THC when the label stated none, to not having any CBD at all.

Some companies participate in third-party testing and proudly provide the results to their customers. It pays to ensure that you are ingesting what the label says you are. Whenever possible, purchase CBD products from companies who participate in this diligent process.

FDA versus USDA

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized both industrial hemp and its products, including CBD. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration decides what products go into food and beverages. Without their approval, food and beverages with CBD are considered illegal.

There is hope though. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently approved the transfer of hemp and hemp products across state lines. This includes locales where cannabis may still be outlawed. Whereas the USDA supports the growing and selling of the products, the FDA still has yet to approve those in food and beverages.

As the two usually refrain from being in conflict, and are both government agencies, it is feasible to believe that in time, this situation will work itself out. Personally, I have no problem with extensive testing of CBD before it takes over the world. Furthermore, I believe it will.

Your current stash of ingestibles

What about your CBD oil? Gummies? Teas? Well, if it is in your home, the likelihood of law enforcement busting down your door are slim to none. My gut feeling is that the FDA is trying to get a handle on this thing as the CBD market is exploding. Ensuring that we all have quality, safe products is a part of that.

One thing is for sure, there will be more legislation and regulation to follow. This actually makes me feel more confident in both the product and the market moving forward. We all want to know that we are ingesting quality and safe CBD. The point is to improve the quality of our lives. We don’t want to harm anyone. Safety first!