EU-wide adoption of max THC limits in hemp seed foods a ‘significant win for sector’

Following a positive opinion from the Standing Committee for Foodstuffs, the European Commission will amend Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 concerning the maximum levels of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-9-THC) in hemp seeds and products derived therefrom.

THC is the main psychoactive chemical in cannabis and responsible for the ‘high’.

According to the Commission’s amendment, the maximum levels have been set at 3.0mg/kg for dry products (flour, proteins, seeds, snacks) and 7.5mg/kg for hemp seed oil.

‘An end to internal market fragmentation’

Prior to the amendment, there was no EU-wide maximum limit. As the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) explained, there were ‘only’ guidelines from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) from 2015, which were not legally binding.

“No harmonised limits [means it is] impossible for operators to trade,” ​EIHA’s managing director Lorenza Romanese told FoodNavigator.

As the EU had no common values until this week, countries like Italy had adopted ‘even stricter’ values (2ppm in dry food and 5ppm in oil), she explained. “In Belgium, the approach was different. They had higher values. This would have meant Belgium would have to comply with Italy and any other Member States.”

This week’s amendment means that all Member States will have to follow common values, which EIHA said will drive consistency across the EU and create a stable and more attractive market for investors.

“This initiative finally puts an end to the internal market fragmentation and will likely give a further boost to investment in the sector,” ​noted the lobby group.

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