Regulatory Hot Topics – March 2019

What’s going on in the ever-changing world of regulatory? Our resident regulatory guru, Ashley Brooks, is here to help! Here are some of the most pressing hot topics in regulatory that food companies should be paying attention to.

Cannabidiol or CBD-infused Foods

CBD has been getting a lot of buzz lately as a trendy ingredient for food products. At Natural Products Expo West last week, it was seemingly inescapable – it was everywhere! But besides being trendy, what’s the deal with CBD from a regulatory perspective?

AdobeStock 94135649In December 2018 U.S. President Donald Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill, which removed industrial hemp from the federal government’s list of controlled substances and made it a lawful agricultural commodity. Hemp that follows the regulations in the 2018 Farm Bill can be used as an additive in foods and comes in granule, powdered, and oil forms.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive derivative of hemp and is growing in popularity. However pure CBD isolate is not currently an approved additive for foods and beverages. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb released a statement saying the agency would continue enforcing a ban on adding CBD to food and drinks. The FDA is open to considering the status of CBD-infused foods and beverages. “In addition, pathways remain available for the FDA to consider whether there are circumstances in which certain cannabis-derived compounds might be permitted in a food or dietary supplement,” Gottlieb stated. “Although such products are generally prohibited to be introduced in interstate commerce, the FDA has authority to issue a regulation allowing the use of a pharmaceutical ingredient in a food or dietary supplement. We are taking new steps to evaluate whether we should pursue such a process.”

As we were writing this blog post, we learned that FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has resigned and is expected to leave his position within a month. While we don’t expect this to impact the FDA’s current stance, we will continue to monitor if there are any significant policy shifts

Meanwhile, Canada has issued draft regulations for cannabis derived edibles. Additionally, some US states are taking their own actions regarding CBD.

Lab-Grown Meat

Another regulatory hot topic? Lab grown meat. Producing lab-grown meat, by in-vitro cultivation of animal cells, is gaining a lot of attention recently. A number of animal protein companies around the world have been making investments in “cultured meat” research. The hype is far enough along that it gained the attention of the USDA and FDA and joint public hearings were held this past November. It was decided that the FDA will oversee cell collection, cell banks and cell growth. After the cell harvest stage, the USDA will then oversee the production and labeling of food products derived from the cells of livestock and poultry.

Need help navigating regulatory requirements? Reach out to Ashley at

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