EIHA sees commercial hemp industry on the upswing

Finally binding THC limits for hemp foodstuffs throughout the EU

16-Mar-2022 - Belgium

The European Hemp Industry Association (EIHA) welcomes the decision of the European Commission on THC limits in hemp foods.

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Following a positive opinion from the Standing Committee on Foodstuffs, the Commission has set maximum limits for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9-THC) in hemp seeds and products made from them, based on Regulation (EC) No. 1881/2006.

The new limits for products made from hemp seeds and hemp seed oil are binding for all EU member states - an important milestone on the way to a uniformly regulated European hemp market. This decision will ensure a stable market situation and thus also increase the attractiveness for investors.

The limits were set at 3.0 mg/kg for dry products (flour, proteins, seeds) and 7.5 mg/kg for hemp seed oil. The Standing Committee has set the measurement uncertainty relevant for total THC i. H. v. 40 to 50% relevant for total THC is not fixed in writing.

Uncertainty of measurement is defined as a parameter associated with the result of a measurement that characterizes the spread of values that can reasonably be attributed to the measurand.

In practice, accredited laboratories performing analyses for official controls must comply with the rules for determining their expanded uncertainty of measurement. Laboratories are required to report their results with the measurement uncertainty, which can range from 40% to 50% for total THC.

The legislation clearly states that a product is non-compliant only if the test report is above the maximum level plus the corresponding measurement uncertainty beyond reasonable doubt. The test results must be evaluated with the addition of the appropriate measurement uncertainty in order to verify the marketability of the product in question.

EIHA had previously called for higher limits for THC in food, but endorsed and supported the EU Commission's proposals on the condition of a clear and official regulation on measurement uncertainty.

EIHA is disappointed that the measurement uncertainty for THC has not been officially fixed in writing. This may potentially continue to create ambiguity and uncertainty in the market. The marketer may need to explain the measurement uncertainty to the authorities or refer to the laboratories' test report in individual cases.

EIHA has already asked the Commission for an official note to be included in the document publishing the maximum THC levels in foodstuffs - referring to the measurement uncertainty of 40-50% and that the concept of non-compliance only applies if the test result is above the maximum level beyond reasonable doubt.

De facto, as of now, hemp food products, taking into account the measurement uncertainty, are marketable with a content of up to 4.2 to 4.5 mg/kg for dry products and 10.5 to 11.25 mg/kg for oil.

Daniel Kruse - Industry Pioneer and President of EIHA

"This long-awaited legislation is a significant win for our industry. As a trade association, we have strongly advocated for such an EU-wide regulation for almost ten years. EIHA also contributed with sound scientific facts to the European Commission's 2020 stakeholder consultation. The EU-wide maximum levels will greatly help our members and all food business operators who want to work with products made from hemp seeds, such as hemp oil."

Lorenza Romanese - Executive Director of EIHA

"Inconsistencies between the 27 Member States have put operators in a very difficult position and have often hindered or completely prevented smooth trade. Bit by bit, we are achieving a true internal hemp market for Europe. We will continue to work in this direction and do our best to make life easier for hemp farmers and producers of hemp food."

Until now, member states set their own maximum THC levels in hemp products or followed the outdated and unnecessarily strict acute reference dose (ARfD) of 1 µg/kg body weight for delta-9-THC, which comes from a 2015 EFSA intake recommendation.

The new rules will be directly applicable in all Member States 20 days after the publication of the regulation and its annexes in the Official Journal. To allow economic operators to prepare for the new rules, the regulation also provides for a transition period before the maximum levels apply and existing stocks can be used and sold.

Note: This article has been translated using a computer system without human intervention. LUMITOS offers these automatic translations to present a wider range of current news. Since this article has been translated with automatic translation, it is possible that it contains errors in vocabulary, syntax or grammar. The original article in German can be found here.

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