On Oct. 29, the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) release of a federal regulatory framework for domestic hemp, which establishes a domestic hemp production program as set forth in the 2018 Farm Bill.
This interim rule is intended to help expand production of domestic hemp and to help meet the growing consumer demand for hemp-derived products. Included among these ingredients are those that can legally be used in the U.S. food supply at this time—hulled hemp seed, hemp seed protein powder and hemp seed oil. A vast majority of the consumer demand, however, exists for hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD), which remains stuck in regulatory limbo at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Despite the abundance of CBD products currently in the marketplace, FDA maintains CBD may not be legally marketed as an ingredient in food or supplements.
Leslie G. Sarasin, FMI president and CEO, issued this statement: “USDA’s proposed regulations provide more clarity in the regulatory environment surrounding hemp, which continues to generate much enthusiasm among FMI’s members’ customers in the U.S. Having said that, the lack of federal standards for the use of CBD in manufactured products, coupled with the current patchwork of state laws regulating CBD products, has created mass confusion for the public, for suppliers and retailers and for state regulators. FMI highly values the role FDA plays in promoting public health and safety, but the absence of a clear pathway to market for these products means consumers currently face a variety of risks, including unsubstantiated health and benefit claims, a lack of standardization in product labeling and packaging, and even products that do not contain the ingredients they purport to contain. The safety concerns and marketplace confusion surrounding CBD products will continue until FDA provides additional clarity and guidance governing the production, sale, quality and marketing of these products. We hope FDA will move quickly to provide clarity.”