Washington, D.C.—The Natural Products Association (NPA) reported that, during an NPA webinar on June 23, state regulators “sounded off” on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its inaction on cannabidiol (CBD) products. As WholeFoods previously reported, prior to the webinar, NPA had invited FDA to elaborate on the “substantial progress” FDA said it has made on developing regulatory guidance for CBD products.
“What progress has the FDA made?” questioned Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., President and CEO of NPA, in a press release, adding that NPA looks forward to hearing the FDA’s plan to bring certainty and transparency to the growing CBD marketplace. And while FDA did not accept NPA’s invitation to brief the industry at the webinar, and FDA’s inaction was addressed by others speakers.
According to the release, representatives from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumers Services (VDACS) noted that Virginia took action on CBD products due to FDA’s inaction. NPA quoted Lisa Ramsey, VDACS Office of Dairy and Foods, Food Safety Program, as saying,”in Virginia, we felt like without FDA taking the lead we needed to do something to help ensure products being created in Virginia are created safe and presented honestly to the consumers of Virginia and beyond Virginia.”
NPA added that Erin Williams from VDACS’s Office of Policy, Planning, and Research, Industrial Hemp Program, explained that, while waiting on FDA action, the Governor of Virginia directed VDACS “to treat hemp-derived extracts intended for human consumption as approved food additives.”
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Also speaking at the webinar, NPA reported that Louisiana Speaker of the House Clay Schexnayder stated “it only takes one bad product that would cause a major hiccup in moving forward hemp and it would be a wave that would be hard to reel back in.” Schexnayder raised concerns about synthetic product or manmade product getting into natural hemp product.
Again stressing the need for FDA to act, Dr. Fabricant said, “Consumers who stand to benefit from this new industry deserve to know that the products they use are safe, but we could see even more confusion in the marketplace with a patchwork of state laws.”
NPA noted that it has been asking the FDA to set a safe level of daily consumption for CBD products for the past three years. As WholeFoods reported, in 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a provision that would appropriate necessary funds for FDA to perform a Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE). NPA explained that the process would follow the same steps that the FDA has a history of using in exercising enforcement discretion on natural products that contain levels of an approved drug ingredient. The most well-known example, NPA added, is Red Yeast Rice.
NPA shared that a meeting with FDA has been scheduled for next week. Stay tuned for updates.