Holland & Barrett pulls 31 CBD products from shelves in response to FSA guidance

By Nikki Hancocks

- Last updated on GMT

Getty | 24K Production
Getty | 24K Production

Related tags Cbd Regulation

Holland & Barrett has temporarily removed 31 CBD products from shelves after new guidance from UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) which slashed recommended daily recommendations, leading industry to pull together to fight for survival.

The leading UK health and wellness retailer has removed the products while the business reviews the new guidance revealed ​on Thursday October 12 which states adults should limit CBD consumption to 10mg per day, rather than 70mg.

A spokesperson for Holland & Barrett said on Friday: “We are reviewing the latest voluntary guidance from the FSA on the recommended daily dose for ingestible CBD products, and whilst it remains legal for these products to remain on sale, we are acting in an abundance of caution and are temporarily withdrawing some products where customers cannot choose to only use 10mg a day, so we can make sure we are giving our customers the latest guidance on safe usage of these products for short and long term use. 

"This is a temporary measure so we can make sure we are giving our customers the latest guidance across our website product descriptions and to make sure our colleagues have received revised training to be able to answer customer questions on this. 

"We are committed to working with the FSA and the wider industry to share safety data as the FSA continue to develop their thinking on this topic.”

New guidance

The FSA says the recommendation is based on new evidence from novel foods application dossiers, the assessment of which led its independent scientific committee - the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods Processes (ACNFP) and the Committee on Toxicity (cot) - to reconsider its advice. 

Keeping advice vague in terms of what brands and retailers should do next, the FSA stated: "Some products available on the market will have a higher dose of CBD per serving than 10mg a day, therefore consumers should check labels and consider their daily intake in light of this updated advice."

It added: "We encourage consumers to monitor their daily consumption of CBD by checking the CBD content of the product and consider if they wish to change it in light of this updated advice."

A call to arms

CBD experts at The Canna Consultant (TCC) stated that this new guidance will do "collateral damage to the whole of the UK CBD industry" and are urgently calling upon the FSA to provide a published policy that will allow those with products on the novel foods Public list to maintain that listing whilst producing a 10mg single-consumption unit compliant product without fear of action from enforcement.

TCC released a position paper in the wake of the FSA update, stating the recommendation is likely in response to "one poor study" within its Novel Foods dossiers applications.

The paper referred to this as a "dagger-blow to the whole of the UK industry".

It added that whilst the FSA says it will keep the recommended daily limit under review, there will be no swift reversals.

The team spoke will Paul Tossell, head of regulated products at the FSA, and were advised no products will be removed from the novel foods public list simply because they are single-consumption units at a dosage of greater than 10mg.

They were informed that manufacturers should not immediately react and change the formulation or packaging of their products - to do so in an unstructured manner would breach the FSA’s “New to Market” Policy and lead to removal from the Public List.

Providing a statement on the complete confusion this creates, the TCC says: "In essence, the FSA have issued non-binding 'Advice', asked people to comply with it but precluded any means by which they are able to comply with it (save for the complete withdrawal of the products which fall within the category). This is, in our view, counter-intuitive, counter-productive, non-sensical and exactly the opposite of what one might think would be in the interests of the consumer.

"Today we have seen the Retail Consortium, insurers and banking establishments react overnight to some of the more outlandish reporting of this new non-binding 'Advice', which have caused products to be remove from sale which, under the definitions and terms of the FSA’s own and existing Public List – and following their indications to us yesterday – are entirely eligible for sale."

TCC warns the effect of these product withdrawals, will – in the absence of swift clarification from the FSA – lead to confusion amongst consumers; a lack of investor confidence; loss of revenues across the industry; an increase in staff lay-offs, contributing directly to an increase unemployment; and reduced tax contributions from companies (which now pay 25% tax) and individuals (many of whom within the industry pay 40% tax).

"For companies which have invested heavily on seeking to be regulatory compliant, it is unfair (to put it mildly) that they can no longer be regulatory compliant when complying with the new 'Advice'. They seem to be damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

"However, it is not only the companies that will lose, it will be the consumer also, because the FSA are actually denying them the ability to access products which they (the FSA) deem safe and restricting the consumer’s choice to products which they (the FSA) actually deem as unsafe.

"Were any brand to go ahead and reduce the CBD strength of a Product on the Public List, then we imagine that any enforcement action in respect of that 'new product' should Trading Standards seek to remove it from the shelves due to its non-compliance with the 'New to Market Policy' (but with its very existence being motivated by a desire to comply with the FSA’s contradictory '10mg Advice') would be a hard-sell as being required in the public interest."

The consultants are offering if anyone wishes to lend their volume to its collective voice on this single issue they can email info@thecannaconsutants.co.uk 

Industry members will be included as interested parties in the consultants' correspondence and interaction with the FSA.

Related topics Regulation CBD / Hemp

Related news

Follow us


View more