Now that the deadline for applications has passed, when should enforcement action from the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) be expected?

The FSA told CBD-Intel during a recent conference that – unsurprisingly – no actions would be taken until after the list of validated/administratively checked pending validation applications had been published. Thus far no date for the publication of the list has been put forward, but the speculation is that it will now more than likely be at least May before it is seen.

After the list is provided, enforcement will be at different levels, according to the FSA. At first there will be a request to companies asking for voluntary withdrawal of those products from brands not on the list.

This will then eventually be followed by more active enforcement action. This will be undertaken by local Trading Standards agencies, which means there could be different priority levels and thus different timetables varying from council area to council area (local Trading Standards agencies are tied to the local area government, generally referred to as a council in the UK). Such an approach could lead to a “post code lottery” with tougher enforcement in some areas than others.

However, the FSA said all Trading Standards enforcement would be based on a “proportionate response”. Trading Standards previously told CBD-Intel that it would more than likely only act on complaints about specific products, though it could take action in egregious cases.

Altogether then, there remains no easy answer as there is no simple timetable. However, there are a decent number of steps to get through before we potentially see the first CBD product removed by authorities for being non-compliant with novel food regulations, which suggests that such activity is still some time away.

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*Under CBD-Intel’s editorial discretion

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