The European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) today put out an urgent call for help from its members as the trade group seeks to bolster its position that CBD and extracts from hemp leaves and flowers should not be under burdensome EU restrictions.
“These restrictions have a significant negative impact on our industry, and on the CBD and food sectors specifically,” EIHA said in a Call to Action distributed to its nearly 300 members this week.
Hemp foods legacy
The effort is aimed at defining hemp extracts — most importantly CBD — as legacy foods in Europe, and therefore exempt from costly compliance under the EU’s Novel Foods Catalogue guidelines. Foods derived from hemp seeds are not a consideration as they are already exempt from Catalogue rules.
The Catalogue is essentially a food safety mechanism created to check new, genetically or synthetically designed food products before market entry while at the same time protecting the functioning of the Single Market.
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EIHA has said that the recently changed rules could shut out small and medium enterprises — which make up a majority of the affected players on the continent today — favoring corporate giants who can afford an expensive Novel Foods Catalogue authorization regime.
Sleuthing for documentation
EIHA is specifically calling on its members to help expand its collection of historical artifacts and references which illustrate that extracts from hemp flowers and leaves were commonly consumed as food throughout European history (up to the year 1997).
The Association said it is looking to document further references to flowers or leaves cooked, boiled or otherwise extracted for use in food. EIHA has already collected about 20 examples from a wide range of sources across the continent, but wants to strengthen its evidence for discussions with EU officials.
A ‘colorful history’
Those examples and an EIHA statement on the Novel Foods rules make up a position paper, “Status of Hemp Extracts in Europe,” that’s been in distribution among European media and stakeholders since May 2019. The paper cites a number of references which demonstrate the presence of hemp extracts — including CBD — in food consumed on the continent throughout history. It is this collection of data the EIHA hopes to further expand upon with contributions from its members in different countries.
EIHA is asking its members to research hemp in their native languages in an effort to drill down deep to add to its existing body of evidence. “We know there is a colorful and rich history of hemp flowers and leaves in hemp food, nation by nation, and region by region,” EIHA said in the call.