FSA update: Rebranding, new products and novel food applications. What does the future hold for white labelled CBD?

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has doubled down on its novel foods guidance for white labelled CBD oils, edibles and beverages. They say no brands launched after 13 February 2020 are permitted to enter the UK market without full novel foods authorisation.

The FSA, which is responsible for protecting public health in relation to food in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, has reiterated its stance that white label product applications must be fully authorised before any new brand can enter the market. 

A spokesperson for the FSA confirmed to Cannabinoid Insight that products which were on sale prior to 13 February 2020 – for which the FSA has received a novel foods application – can remain on market pending full authorisation. However, this does not apply to new brands or for existing ones with intentions to rebrand. 

Those wishing to rebrand are advised to wait until their products have received FSA authorisation.

“White labels are not permitted after 13 February 2020 to make a new brand. Business-to-business sales are permitted if the brand is not changed. Labelled products sold before 13 February 2020 cannot be rebranded after the cut-off date until the product is authorised.”

When asked to clarify whether additional steps may need to be taken by brands to ensure the products in question are approved for sale, the FSA spokesperson said this depends on the intended use of the product.

“The authorisation will only permit the uses stipulated in that application or as a condition in the authorisation, so any white label product would have to be covered by the authorisation. 
If an authorisation for a CBD novel food application gave a maximum use level, the new brand would have to make sure its final product meets those requirements.”  

White labelled CBD products have grown as a popular route to market for CBD brands, largely due to being cost and time efficient by nature.

Brands order retail-ready products to sell under their own name and creatives, without owning the formulation. This removes the need for a manufacturing site, the hiring of formulation experts, sourcing of ingredients and in some cases, avoids lengthy periods of research and development.

Related: FSA provides update on the status of the public list, white labelling and looming deadline