Beverage producers to benefit if FDA attack on CBD leads to stronger regulation and more research, says GlobalData
Following the news that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has questioned using cannabidiol (CBD) as an ingredient;
Andy Morton, Deputy Editor at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, provides his view:
“In declining to define CBD as a Generally Recognised as Safe (GRAS) ingredient, and sending warning letters to 15 companies selling products containing CBD, the US FDA has seemingly thrown the nascent CBD beverage category into doubt.
“However, rather than censuring the FDA for its actions this week, CBD beverage producers should welcome the move as it suggests the organization is finally ready to define its rules for hemp-related and cannabis-related products.
“Currently, US regulation on CBD is vague and unfocused. The FDA said this week that many food and beverage manufacturers who use CBD in their products are doing so illegally - this is after the US Farm Bill, which was supposed to give clarity on the production of industrial hemp, was updated at the end of last year. This regulatory confusion isn’t helping consumers understand the ingredient, as GlobalData’s 2019 Q3 survey highlighted when 37% of global consumers claimed that they were not familiar enough with CBD when asked if they thought the ingredient was positive or negative for their health.
“Weak regulation has allowed the CBD market to become something of a Wild West, with products of questionable quality and efficacy. Yes, this week's FDA announcement is alarming, with the group even questioning whether CBD can affect male reproductive toxicity in humans, as has been reported in animals. However, much of its alarm is over the lack of research into CBD. Hemp trade groups and supporters all over the world will point to the plant's history of being ingested in various forms by humans for thousands of years with little ill-effect.
“The FDA still needs to give clearer guidance, but this week's announcement could signal better times ahead. Reputable CBD beverage firms that want to build the category with quality products can only benefit from stronger regulatory oversight and more research.”