Bill Seeks to Regulate CBD in Food and Drinks
“CBD in food and drinks with clear regulatory framework” – cry of the stakeholders in the hemp and CBD industry.
On December 2, 2021, Bipartisan lawmakers introduced a bill known as the “CBD Product Safety and Standardization Act” that will require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to create regulations for food and beverages containing hemp-derived CBD.
The bill is sponsored by Reps. Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Angie Craig (D-MN), and Dan Crenshaw (R-TX).
A Push for CBD Interstate Commerce
The primary aim of the bill is to require the FDA to study and develop regulations surrounding CBD in food and drinks.
But the associated goal of the bill is to remove the regulatory gray area where most of the CBD market operates and push for interstate commerce.
Hemp and its derived products were legalized federally after the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. Despite this, there is little in the way of rules or regulations that allow the lawful marketing of CBD-infused foods and beverages.
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Ironically, CBD-infused edibles are widely available in different markets across the United States.
“CBD products are exploding in popularity, but the lack of federal regulation surrounding them has put consumers at risk and left businesses looking for clarity,” Rep. Rice said in a press release.
“The bipartisan CBD Product Safety and Standardization Act will establish the clear regulatory framework needed to provide stability for business and ensure unsafe products stay off the shelves.”
Rep. Griffith also said that CBD product demands “has surged but, Food and Drug Administration Regulations do not reflect this new reality.”
Regulate CBD just like any Food Ingredient
If the CBD Product Safety and Standardization Act is passed into law, the FDA will be able to regulate CBD just like any food ingredient. As the FDA develops these regulations, the agency will also be able to hold a public comment period.
In said period, the FDA can clarify the maximum amount of hemp-derived CBD that could be added to a food item or beverage per serving. As such, it will also include the labeling and packaging requirements as well as the “conditions of intended use.”
Likewise, the FDA will be able to determine which food items and beverages will be allowed to include CBD as an ingredient.
“…adulterated or unsafe products are available that threaten consumer health, and businesses lack clarity,” Rep. Griffith said.
“The CBD Product Safety and Standardization Act would require the FDA to address the issue and ensure more certainty in the CBD marketplace.”
“Years after CBD was decriminalized, a lack of clear federal standards in the CBD industry has left businesses guessing and customers at risk,” Rep. Craig said.
“It’s clear that this growing industry needs regulatory clarity in order to continue selling their products safely and effectively.”
Hemp Advocacy Groups Support the Regulatory Bill
The U.S. Hemp Roundtable has expressed support for the bipartisan bill regulating hemp-derived CBD for food and beverages.
In a press release, the industry’s national advocacy organization stated, “The hemp industry is grateful to Reps. Kathleen Rice, Morgan Griffith, Angie Craig and Dan Crenshaw for their introduction of the CBD Product Safety and Standardization Act. We strongly support requiring the FDA to regulate hemp extracts like CBD as food and beverage ingredients.”
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Likewise, the Consumer Brands Association, included in Rep. Rice’s press release, issued a statement backing the bill.
“The CBD Product Safety and Standardization Act is a welcome step toward giving consumers consistency and promoting safety that goes across state lines,” said Betsy Booren, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Regulatory and Technical. “74% of consumers incorrectly believe that CBD is federally regulated, stressing the urgency of the action….”
A Complement to other CBD Bills
The U.S. Hemp Roundtable lauds the passage of the bill as a complement to other bills passed this year that have aimed to hasten the FDA’s slow-footing of CBD regulations.
“We look forward to working with the bill sponsors to ensure that this legislation provides the broadest range of protections for hemp extract products for human and animal consumption, to serve as a strong complement to HR 841, introduced by Rep. Kurt Schrader and supported by 35 co-sponsors, which would require [the] FDA to regulate CBD in dietary supplements.”
In a similar vein, in May of this year, bipartisan senators introduced a bill that would similarly exempt “hemp, hemp-derived cannabidiol, or a substance containing any other ingredient derived from hemp” from restrictions.
The Hemp Access and Consumer Safety Act would amend the definition of a dietary supplement to allow such a change.
Importance of FDA Regulation on the CBD Market
What surprises many consumers and frustrates many lawmakers is the slow movement of the FDA regarding CBD. As of late, CBD is still deemed by the FDA as illegal as an additive in many respects, including food, beverages, and supplements.
The FDA held its first public hearing on the effects of CBD in May 2019 after the 2018 Farm Bill was passed on December 20 of that year. Over two years later, the FDA has not passed any significant amendments to its rules and regulations regarding the sale and marketing of CBD.
However, the consumption and production of CBD-infused products are on the rise. Statistics have shown that people aged 18-29 use CBD consistently, while 40% of the same age group have tried it at least once. Likewise, CBD consumer sales are expected to grow and hit $1.8 billion by 2022.
The safety of consumers regarding the consumption of CBD is still up in question despite many companies providing 3rd party laboratory testing and Certificates of Analysis. Without any proper regulation addressing the state of CBD as an ingredient, the quality and safety of many CBD products can never be assured.
The FDA found that many of the products contained THC despite claiming only to have CBD. Other products did not contain the advertised CBD amount, with two having 120% of the listed amount.