Novel foods: Setting the standards for CBD


May 1997 might not stand out as a key date in global history. But, in the European food industry, it marks a significant milestone; the introduction of novel foods legislation. And the first step towards mainstream acceptance of cannabidiol (CBD) in the UK. Good news for CBD consumers and stockists? We think so. Here’s why.

What are novel foods?

Novel foods? The hint’s in the name. A novel food is “new”. Or, more specifically, a food product that wasn’t consumed “to a meaningful extent” by people living in Europe before May 1997. It’s also a term that’s applied to food made using processes not prevalent before this time. 

Examples of novel foods include chia seeds, baobab fruit, wheat bran and sunflower oil extracts, and, more recently, cannabidiol or CBD.

CBD recognised as novel food

In Jan 2019, CBD extracts and isolates were, for the first time, included in the European Commission’s Novel Foods Act. This was swiftly followed by an announcement from the UK’s Food Standards Authority in February 2020 that products containing cannabidiol had to be registered with novel food status or risk being removed from sale in the UK and Europe. The deadline for having a validated application was 31st of March 2021.

The CBD market existed and flourished unregulated for years before this announcement. So, what’s driven the move towards tighter regulation and what impact will it have on consumers and businesses?

Building confidence and setting standards 

CBD products have become increasingly popular over recent years, with many finding that they provide effective relief from health conditions such as chronic pain, anxiety and stress. This growth in demand has, in turn, seen an inevitable growth in stockists keen to supply. 

Healthy competition is no bad thing. But, in order to compete fairly there needs to be a level playing field, with clear rules and guidelines. Without any regulation in place, the CBD market risks being undermined by products which don’t meet the right levels of quality (particularly in terms of purity and potency) and safety.

Confidence in the safety and efficacy of a product is what fuels its ongoing success. And, in an unregulated market, consumer confidence suffers. 

A protective firewall for consumers and stockists

Including CBD within the guidelines of novel food status, future-proofs the CBD market. It forms a protective firewall for consumers, producers and stockists by sending out a powerful message that:

  • all CBD products with this status are safe,
  • they meet industry standards, and 
  • the levels of CBD are accurately described. 

All of which means: confidence of consumers grows, confidence of potential investors grows, and the confidence of stockists and sellers grows. Three big wins for the CBD market.

Riding the wave of credibility

Yes, introducing this legislation means the number of stockists on the market may reduce. But, with market confidence high and tight regulations in place, more mainstream high street outlets will begin to stock CBD oils on their shelves. And it’s this mainstream acceptance which will, in turn, give a helping hand to quality independent online retailers (like CBD Puroil). 

For all of those businesses committed to maintaining quality and high standards, the novel food legislation provides the opportunity to ride on a Mexican wave of credibility and a chance to boost business and provide a powerful product to a growing market of consumers.

What’s not to like? Climb on board.

Find out more about CBD Puroil

CBD Puroil is leading the way to wellbeing. Putting CBD at the heart of natural healthcare, it’s one of the most trusted brands in the market. Working with commitment, passion and to the highest standards, our CBD Puroil products are all fully lab-tested, 100% natural and carefully crafted to help promote your overall well-being. Find out more.