Italy tells EU it will set maximum THC levels for hemp foods

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The Italian Ministry of Health has informed the European Commission (EC) of its plans to set maximum levels of THC in food and food supplements. The regulation is aimed at providing clarity to authorities and the food sector.

In a letter sent to the EC in October, the Italian government outlined its intentions and their rationale for the move. The Italian government notes that they sought the advice of a number of bodies including the Italian National Institute of Health in May 2017 before proceeding. They also outline their intent to sample and analyze products for THC levels as per European Union guidelines.

Clarity on food

The regulation proposed by Italy provides clarification for the authorities and the food sector on which foodstuffs derived from hemp can be produced and placed on the market. It also provides instructions for authorities and the food sector on the application of regulations on food hygiene and official inspections.

It’s proposed the maximum THC levels would be as follows: Hemp seeds and flour obtained from hemp seed should have a maximum of 2.0 milligrams per kilogram. Likewise, supplements containing foodstuffs derived from hemp would also have a maximum of 2.0 milligrams per kilogram. Oils obtained from hemp seeds can have a maximum of 5.0 milligrams per kilogram.

Novel Food or not?

Under EU regulations, depending on how a product is manufactured, some hemp and CBD products may require authorization under the Novel Food Regulation before they can enter the EU marketplace. To date, a number of producers and products have run into difficulties in different countries due to this.

Typically the extraction method used determines whether authorization is required or not. Products made by cold pressing the seeds or other parts of the plant usually don’t require it. However, other forms of extraction or purification, such as CO2, may require authorization.

Other EU regulations mean that producers of hemp or CBD products cannot make health claims about their products. A number of European businesses have been contacted in the past year on this matter as more CBD products emerged on the market.

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