CBD products may pose risks
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.”