The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has released its findings of a national survey of CBD products currently for sale in the Irish market, showing that the majority were in breach of various articles of food law and some posed potential safety risks for consumers.

The survey reveals that 37% of the products tested had a THC content that could result in safety limits set by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) being significantly exceeded. The implicated batches of these products are currently being recalled.

While consumer safety is the priority, the undeclared presence of THC in these products can also pose a risk for drivers, as well as athletes who may be buying and consuming these products without knowing they contain a psychotropic substance.

THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is the active component found in cannabis. There currently is no threshold or tolerance for THC in food set out in EU or Irish food law.

In addition, it was found that the analytically determined CBD content in over 40% of samples varied significantly (>50%) from the declared CBD content.

36% of samples classed as food supplements had not been notified to the FSAI before being placed on the market, as required by the law. Many of those that had been notified also had issues to be addressed, such as notifying changes of labels. Half of the products tested made misleading claims including lactose free, gluten free, non-GMO, along with unauthorised health claims and some which may be considered medicinal claims.

The majority of the 38 products tested from the Irish market were manufactured outside of the country. The FSAI is working with the Environmental Health Service of the HSE and the relevant food businesses in relation to the matter.

This survey was undertaken by the FSAI due to the rapid increase in the availability of these products on the market in Ireland, the EU and other parts of the world. Each product was analysed in the accredited Public Analyst’s Laboratory in Dublin from November to December 2019, using a validated test method.

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