Four U.S. House members introduced a bipartisan bill Dec. 2, that would require the Food and Drug Administration to regulate CBD as a food and beverage ingredient. Sponsors say the legislation will establish federal standards for CBD food and beverage products to protect consumers and provide marketplace stability for farmers, producers and retailers.
Rep. Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y., along with Reps. Morgan Griffith, R-Va.; Angie Craig, D-Minn.; and Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, introduced the CBD Product Safety and Standardization Act, which would specifically authorize the regulation of interstate commerce with respect to food containing cannabidiol derived from hemp, and for other purposes.
“CBD products are exploding in popularity, but the lack of federal regulation surrounding them has put consumers at risk and left businesses looking for clarity,” said Rice. “The bipartisan CBD Product Safety and Standardization Act will establish the clear regulatory framework needed to provide stability for business and ensure unsafe products stay off the shelves.”
Griffith said that demand for CBD products has surged, but FDA regulations do not reflect that new reality. “As a result, adulterated or unsafe products are available that threaten consumer health, and businesses lack clarity,” Griffith added. “The CBD Product Safety and Standardization Act would require the FDA to address the issue and ensure more certainty in the CBD marketplace.”
The U.S. Hemp Roundtable issued a statement from its general counsel, Jonathan Miller, supporting aspects of the bill and thanking the sponsors for their leadership.
“We strongly support requiring the FDA to regulate hemp extracts like CBD as food and beverage ingredients,” Miller’s statement read. “We look forward to working with the bill sponsors to ensure that this legislation provides the broadest range of protections for hemp extract products for human and animal consumption, to serve as a strong complement to HR 841, introduced by Rep. Kurt Schrader and supported by 35 co-sponsors, which would require FDA to regulate CBD in dietary supplements.”
Craig explained that years after CBD was decriminalized, a lack of clear federal standards in the CBD industry has left businesses guessing and customers at risk. It’s clear, Craig said, that the growing industry needs regulatory clarity in order to continue selling products safely and effectively.
Consumer Safety & Confidence
The Consumer Brands Association issued a statement citing data that 74% of consumers incorrectly believe that CBD is federally regulated. “The CBD Product Safety and Standardization Act is a welcome step toward giving consumers consistency and promoting safety that goes across state lines,” said the association’s Dr. Betsy Booren, senior vice president of regulatory and technical issues.
While the 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) from the Controlled Substances Act, it did not make changes to existing Food and Drug Administration (FDA) law or regulatory policies governing its use in FDA-regulated products.
Since then, the market for CBD products has exploded, and CBD is ubiquitously available to consumers in oils, cosmetics, supplements, and foods, and it is even marketed in products for pets. The discrepancy between the Controlled Substances Act and FDA law has created a regulatory gray area in which CBD is widely available but unregulated – and considered illegal – by FDA.
The CBD Product Safety and Standardization Act would allow FDA to regulate CBD as it would any other food ingredient and subject these products to enforceable safeguards to ensure accountability, Rice said in a statement. It also charges the agency with establishing CBD content limits and packaging and labeling requirements and determining in which categories of food CBD is appropriate for use.
The bill, she said, will help distinguish responsible players from bad actors that ignore federal requirements for quality, manufacturing, labeling and claims.