David Beckham Getty

Source: Getty

Big-name brands not on the FSA list include Cellular Goods, in which David Beckham owns a stake

More than 120 CBD brands are facing the prospect of being removed from shelves by retailers under recommendations from the Food Standards Agency.

Well-known affected brands include Vita Coco, which launched a CBD-infused cola into Sainsbury’s only last month, and CBDfx gum, which is sold in Boots.

The FSA published a list of 3,500-plus CBD products with credible novel food applications last week. It is calling for products not on the list to be removed from sale. It has also said it expects companies excluded from the list to withdraw their products from the market voluntarily.

As well as Vita Coco and CBDfx, brands not on the FSA list include Cellular Goods, in which David Beckham owns a stake. Cannabrew and Blockhead gum are also among the 120-plus excluded brands.

The scale of exclusions has emerged in research by the Association for the Cannabinoid Industry. A list provided by the trade body also revealed many of the excluded brands are currently sold by major retailers.

As well as Sainsbury’s, other retailers selling excluded CBD products include Holland & Barrett, Superdrug and Amazon.

Since many of the brands will offer a complete range, the number of individual CBD products affected will be far higher than 120.

“We are advising that products not on the list should be removed from sale,” the FSA said as it published its list.

“We expect companies which have not applied for authorisation or those rejected from the process to withdraw their products from the market voluntarily. If this does not happen, local authorities can use the list to inform their enforcement decisions.”

Even being on the list does not constitute approval from the FSA. Instead, it means the FSA tolerates those products remaining on sale pending decisions at a later stage.

An FSA spokeswoman said: “Retailers can use the list to help them make informed judgments about what they stock.

“We have advised local authorities to take a proportionate approach to enforcement against CBD products and we understand it may take time for the market to reduce and for certain products to be removed from circulation.”

ACI senior counsel Steve Moore said: “The problem now is these products are being traded. They should be pulling their products off the market.”

Read more: Will the FSA’s credible suppliers list finally kickstart the CBD market?

The FSA is still accepting applications to be added to its list, while warning that brands applying or reapplying after 31 March 2021 should not put their products on the market until they are authorised.

Several of the excluded brands have said they hope to be added soon. “There appear to have been a few surprising absences from this list and we are waiting to see if the list will be updated to reflect this,” said Vita Coco.

Blockhead said it expected its submission “to be added imminently”.

Puresport, which offers CBD oils and capsules, said: “Our application is also under review and we are confident it will be added to the FSA’s list shortly.”

Moore said some adjustments were likely to be made to the list in the coming weeks.

However, he said many brands had missed a deadline for submitting plans to provide toxicology data to the FSA, meaning they were likely to have to restart the application process.