Cannabinoids in food, feed and Novel Food in the European Union

Jörg Konetzki from Mérieux NutriSciences outlines the current cannabinoid climate, including legality in Europe and some noteworthy aspects of analytics.

Cannabis sativa, or hemp, is gaining increasing significance in food production, with products containing hemp seeds, flowers or oil becoming more readily available. Hemp seeds, hemp expeller and hemp oil are also approved as feed materials.

A legislative big-bang

Since the landmark decision of the European Court of Justice in November 2020 that cannabidiol (CBD) is not considered to be a narcotic drug and EU member states may not prohibit the marketing of CBD legally produced in another member state,1 the European Commission (EC) has resumed the examination of applications for authorisation of CBD products as a Novel Food. But it must be ensured that no delta-9-THC is detectable in CBD products as most food inspection offices will classify CBD products as drugs if delta-9-THC is detectable.