CBD prod­ucts may pose risks

Irish Examiner - - Front Page - Kevin O’Neill

More than a third of cannabid­iol, or CBD, prod­ucts on the shelves of Ir­ish shops sig­nif­i­cantly ex­ceed safety lim­its set by the Euro­pean Food Safety Au­thor­ity.

The Food Safety Au­thor­ity of Ire­land’s sur­vey of CBD prod­ucts has found that con­sumers are be­ing put at risk and, in some cases, mis­led.

More than a third of cannabid­iol (CBD) prod­ucts on the shelves of Ir­ish shops sig­nif­i­cantly ex­ceed safety lim­its set by the Euro­pean Food Safety Au­thor­ity (EFSA).

A na­tional sur­vey of CBD prod­ucts by the Food Safety Au­thor­ity of Ire­land (FSAI) has found that con­sumers are be­ing put at risk and, in some cases, mis­led.

The ma­jor­ity of prod­ucts an­a­lysed were in breach of var­i­ous ar­ti­cles of food law and some posed po­ten­tial safety risks for con­sumers.

Some 38 prod­ucts were tested. Ev­ery one of them was found to have at least one reg­u­la­tory is­sue that needed to be ad­dressed. These ranged from poor la­belling to unau­tho­rised nu­tri­tional, health, or medic­i­nal claims.

There is also an is­sue with dis­crep­an­cies be­tween de­clared and ac­tual lev­els of CBD in many prod­ucts.

Some 37% of the prod­ucts tested were deemed to be un­safe as they had lev­els of THC that ex­ceeded safety lim­its set by the EFSA. THC is te­trahy­dro­cannabi­nol, a psy­choac­tive con­stituent of cannabis.

Among the other main find­ings of the sur­vey are:

■ 34% of the sam­ples are clas­si­fied as novel foods and re­quire au­tho­ri­sa­tion be­fore be­ing placed on the EU mar­ket. These prod­ucts should not be on the mar­ket;

■ 36% of sam­ples classed as food sup­ple­ments had not been no­ti­fied to the FSAI be­fore be­ing placed on the mar­ket, as re­quired by law. Many of those that had been no­ti­fied also had is­sues to be ad­dressed, such as no­ti­fy­ing changes of labels;

■ 41% of the prod­ucts tested con­tained CBD lev­els which dif­fered by more than 50% com­pared to the level stated on the la­bel. Some 92% of prod­ucts dif­fered by at least 10%. Some prod­ucts had barely de­tectable lev­els of CBD;

■ 50% made mis­lead­ing claims about be­ing lac­tose­free, gluten-free, or nonGMO, along with unau­tho­rised health claims. Some of these could be con­sid­ered medic­i­nal claims.

The FSAI said con­sumers are be­ing grossly mis­led by these claims and that people could be at risk from in­gest­ing rel­a­tively high lev­els of THC.

Most of the prod­ucts tested were man­u­fac­tured out­side Ire­land.

Pamela Byrne, CEO of the FSAI, said that it is im­pos­si­ble to es­ti­mate the num­ber of CBD prod­ucts avail­able in Ire­land, as many are traded on­line.

“People con­sum­ing CBD prod­ucts where the qual­ity con­trol is poor may not be get­ting what they are pay­ing for and also could un­wit­tingly be ex­pos­ing them­selves to psy­choac­tive THC,” said Ms Byrne.

“Also of con­cern is that people con­sum­ing CBD prod­ucts con­tain­ing sig­nif­i­cantly high lev­els of THC could fail a drug test and the im­pli­cated batches of the prod­ucts iden­ti­fied in the sur­vey are now sub­ject to a prod­uct re­call.

“We are work­ing with the En­vi­ron­men­tal Health Ser­vice of the HSE in re­la­tion to other prod­ucts iden­ti­fied in the sur­vey and fur­ther ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion will be taken.”

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