The Association for the Cannabinoid Industry Launches New CBD Safety Certification Initiative

The Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (The ACI) today outlined new plans for The ACI Safety Certification programme. Launched exactly one year before the FSA’s new safety regulations come into force, which excludes all CBD food products from sale in the UK without a validated Novel Foods application dossier. 

The ACI Certification is a key part of The ACI’s vision for a sustainable future for the UK CBD sector and further emboldens The ACI’s mission to nurture an industry that puts public safety first.

The highly anticipated ACI Certification will be composed of three tiers, each representing the necessary steps to gaining full Novel Foods Authorisation from the appropriate regulatory bodies.

  • Tier 1 – Certified
    An ACI member has proven to comply with The ACI’s 7 pillar charter. This means that they have passed an audit, from The ACI, verifying they have a quality management system in place that ensures they operate to best manufacturing standards. Expect companies to start displaying this mark on their products by the end of the summer 2020.
  • Tier 2 – Validated
    To gain The ACI Validation a company must have their Novel Foods application validated by the FSA (Food Standards Agency) and/or EFSA (European Food Safety Authority). The ACI will support its members throughout this process to ensure they submit appropriate scientific dossiers to receive validation. This is a legal requirement to keep products on the market in the UK after 31st March 2021. The first companies should gain this level by the end of 2020.
  • Tier 3 – Authorised
    This Certification will be granted when a company has had their Novel Foods application authorised by the FSA and/or EFSA. The ACI will support its members throughout this process. This will be subject to annual review.

The ACI Certification will bring a level of trust to the industry that until now has been lacking. Over the last 12 months the UK CBD industry has been rocked by a series of scandals relating to what CBD products on the shelves actually contain.

The industry gained clarity on 13th February 2020 when the FSA announced clear guidelines for companies operating in this space.

To facilitate this new drive for safety and quality The ACI is establishing a new Regulatory and Compliance Unit, under the leadership of Dr Parveen Bhatarah, to support its members with both The ACI accreditation and Novel Foods dossier development.

Comprehensive Safety Assessments for CBD

The Novel Foods authorisation process is a safety assessment of CBD. The ACI is gathering, with the collaboration of toxicology experts, Novel Foods experts and our members, the necessary safety and toxicology data to build robust Novel Foods authorisation dossiers for The ACI members.

Submitting credible Novel Foods authorisation dossiers is the only way the industry can stay on UK shelves, as a food supplement, beyond the FSA’s deadline of 31 March 2021. 

The ACI Certification will finally give consumers and retailers confidence in CBD products on the market in the UK. This will give the UK an invaluable lead in the Global CBD industry.

Expert Quotes

Dr Parveen Bhatarah, Regulatory Lead, The ACI 
“The UK has the necessary skill sets and talent in chemistry, agriculture, international business, and the regulatory requirements of the cannabinoid industry. Especially when it comes to CBD, we have the knowledge needed, from growing, to extraction and creating finished formulations. Consumer safety is the key for the CBD sector. The UK is ready to lead the global CBD industry.”

Paul Duffy PhD, ERT, FBTS, FRSB, Toxicology Specialist
“The ACI and its members are in complete alignment with the FSA in terms of ensuring the safety of CBD in products. Discussions are planned to agree the most efficient way of achieving this objective including utilising all the high quality scientific information that is currently available.”

Dr Andy Yates, Pharmacy Lead, The ACI
“It’s been clear that retailers and consumers don’t have complete faith in CBD products that are currently for sale in the UK. The ACI’s Certification is a simple way for retailers and consumers to be sure that the CBD products they are stocking or buying are complying with or working towards all of the relevant regulations.”