Source: Vita Coco

Vita Coco, sold in Sainsbury’s, is among well-known brands left off the initial list

The Food Standards Agency has confirmed its list of tradeable CBD products is being updated, after numerous brands complained they were missed off in error.

The list is to get two updates before 30 June – the first one “very shortly”, said FSA director of policy Rebecca Sudworth.

Businesses now have a new deadline of 26 May to submit evidence showing they have a credible application for novel foods authorisation and were on the market on 13 February 2020.

The move comes after the early April release of the public list “prompted a number of companies to come forward with new evidence linking large numbers of individual products to applications”, said Sudworth.

“This is an unexpected development as this product information should have been provided to us much earlier in the process.”

The FSA said it was now making a “final call for evidence linking products to applications on the public list”, and warned no more products would be added after 30 June.

Some brands had attributed their exclusion to clerical errors on the FSA’s part, claiming they had already provided the necessary evidence.

Under FSA guidance, ingestible CBD products not on the list were to be removed from sale, affecting a string of brands sold by major retailers such as Boots and Sainsbury’s.

However, a trading standards officer has told The Grocer there was little prospect of enforcement action thanks to doubt over the list’s completeness.

“The uncertainty around the list is inhibiting local authorities taking action, as they would not want to embark on an investigation which could not be a good use of very limited resources,” said David Pickering, trading standards regulation team manager for Buckinghamshire and Surrey.

He said progressive updating of the list by the FSA was only adding to the uncertainty for both business and regulators.

“Whilst appreciating this is frustrating for the businesses that have committed to following the correct legal process, that is the reality of the situation,” he added.

Sudworth said the FSA recognised “the challenges for local authorities” and was “committed to working closely with them”.

She added that the list would “assist local authorities in identifying products that are not undergoing assessment for approval”.