Food Marketing Institute participated in the Food and Drug Administration’s public hearing May 31 regarding products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds, including hemp and cannabidiol (CBD).
The FDA is considering whether and how to create a legal pathway for such products. FMI both conveyed the seriousness of the regulatory ambiguity facing its member companies and their shoppers amidst the momentum of these products in the marketplace and also appealed to FDA for additional clarity.
“Given the complex regulatory landscape and growing consumer interest in products containing hemp, especially CBD, FMI regularly fields a wide range of questions from member companies that, understandably, seek clarity about the current regulatory framework for the sale and labeling of these products,” said FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin.
“A challenge for us is that the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, or Farm Bill, contains several provisions that allow for the cultivation, production and commercialization of industrial hemp and hemp-derivatives like CBD,” she said. “However, the new law did not alter FDA’s authority over the use of such ingredients in FDA-regulated products; not to mention the role of other regulatory agencies and the states. Food retailers recognize the confusion among the public, suppliers and retailers, and state regulators as a result of the Farm Bill language.”
“It remains our intention to be in full compliance with all FDA requirements. As such, we seek appropriate assurances regarding the safety of these products and the legality of how—and where—they are merchandised,” Sarasin continued. “We are pleased that the FDA invited us to present oral comments at today’s public hearing, and our industry welcomes the opportunity to be a resource to the agency throughout this regulatory process. We look forward to working with the FDA, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Congress to ensure U.S. grocery shoppers can have full confidence in these products.”
FMI advocates on behalf of the food retail industry, which employs nearly 5 million workers and represents a combined annual sales volume of almost $800 billion. FMI member companies operate nearly 33,000 retail food stores and 12,000 pharmacies.