German producer rebukes ‘stop sell’ order on hemp food oil

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Veteran German player Hempro International GmbH & Co. KG is pushing back against local authorities in Braunschweig after a wholesale buyer of its HANF FARM branded hemp food oil was ordered to stop selling from his shop.

DEEZ Corner, which identifies itself as a hemp and CBD shop in Braunschweig, was ordered July 18 to stop selling the food oil based on a faulty assessment by local authorities in the Lower Saxony State Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (LAVES). The agency ruled the HANF FARM products exceeded the allowable THC level.

The notification prompted a blistering letter to Braunschweig´s Lord Major from Hempro Int. CEO Daniel Kruse, a 26-year veteran of the hemp industry and a board member at the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA). Hempro Int., one of Europe’a leading hemp companies, has been selling hemp food products in Germany since 2002.

‘Simply inaccurate’

“The . . . prohibition against our customer is based on the fact that the product, due to its THC content, is to be assessed as “unsafe” food according to Art. 14 para. 1, para. 2 lit. b) of Regulation (EC) No. 178/2002,” Hempro noted in the letter. “This assumption of yours is simply inaccurate, especially since the opinion you have given is not based on any corresponding scientific findings. The amount of pure THC contained in our cooking oil does not cause any health hazards.”

To bolster that claim, Hempro Int. attached two test reports from well-regarded analysts ÖHMI-Analytik which dispute the “unsafe” finding.

The situation points to a major and thorny problem across the EU, where EU-wide general scientific regulations on THC in food are missing – and only outdated and unnecessarily strict guidance values from Germany’s Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) and Italian based EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) are referred to – which leads to legal flareups and product recalls across the continent.

Questionable benchmarks

In censuring the HANF FARM oil as “unsafe,” LAVES referred to these guidance values from the BfR and EFSA, which Hempro Int. said makes the LAVES edict and the decision of the city of Braunschweig “factually and legally, simply wrong.”

“All of these benchmarks (developed by BfR and EFSA) are merely ‘recommendations’ that are scientifically quite questionable,” Hempro Int. wrote in its letter to local LAVES authorities.

Hempro Int. also pointed to an EIHA study based on an expert opinion of Germany’s nova Institute from May of this year pointing out the invalidity of the BfR guidance.

“In this expert opinion of the nova Institute it has been shown very convincingly and comprehensibly that the earlier recommendations as well as the new assessments of the BfR guidance values are not scientifically comprehensible,” Hempro Int. wrote.

No impairment

“Until today there is no reliable data, according to which at a consumption level of 2 (two) x 3.5 ug Δ 9-THC / kg body weight per day per person any impairment in a healthy person are detectable or even expectable. In other words: There are no scientific findings or findings to date that if THC consumption of, for example, 7 (seven) μg Δ 9-THC / kg body weight per day per person would be expected to result in any adverse health effects.

“The submission of LAVES that the product is no longer safe is inaccurate and devoid of any scientific findings,” the company concluded.

Citing economic losses, Hempro Int. has called on Braunschweig to annul the prohibition order on the HANF FARM oil, and says it is fully ready to take a claim to German courts should sales not be reinstated.

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