October has ended and November begun with still no further update from the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) on the ongoing novel food application process.
The FSA itself continues to say simply that it does not have any further information to share at the moment and the public list will continue to be updated as applications move through the process.
“Applications continue to be assessed and the public list will be updated when applicants have provided enough information in their applications to allow us to make a decision on validation. Relevant businesses who have submitted applications by the 31 March deadline have been advised of the outstanding information required before their application can progress,” the FSA has continued to say. “It is up to the applicants to supply this information for their application to be validated and to allow the public list to be finalised.”
Industry sources appeared to believe that this would be concluded in one way or another before the end of October.
It was suggested that the delay was due to a lack of legal advice for the FSA on the implications of rejecting or approving applications as they moved through the process. The FSA declined to confirm or deny this.
Either way, there does seem to be a growing sense of frustration within the industry over the delay, with both sides appearing to be in the data equivalent of a Mexican stand-off. As mentioned, the FSA believes it is up to the applicants to supply outstanding information required before their application can progress.
But there is reportedly some exasperation with the process among some in the industry, who believe either the FSA has not been clear about the details of what was specifically required or have been moving the goalposts as it further solidifies its process for assessing CBD.
In the end, the result is the same – a lack of movement in approved applications since spring, though the number of fully rejected applications is said to be growing. If that is true, the CBD market post approval may be a very different – and much, much smaller – place than it is now.
– Freddie Dawson CBD-Intel staff