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CBD In NYC: Why The FDA Is Cracking Down On CBD In Food & Drinks

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Putting CBD in food and drinks has become a popular way for CBD users to get their daily dose, and restaurants have noticed. CBD is being added to everything from brownies in popular bakeries to morning brews in bistros across the country. It’s been a big step in the acceptance and mainstream visibility of the nascent legal cannabis industry. So why then is New York City, often a paragon of progress, cracking down on food and drink vendors who are including CBD in their offerings?

Is CBD Banned In Food And Drinks?

New York City has asked companies not to use CBD in foods and drinks. Initially, this was communicated as an immediate ban. The City recently walked back its language in an official announcement that, while they are currently asking it not be used, they will not require vendors to destroy or return their CBD ingredients to suppliers. So the ban is there, but it’s not being fully enforced yet. Nevertheless, enforcement is coming, with citations and fines starting as early as October, and that has left plenty of CBD enthusiasts and restauranteurs scratching their heads.

Why New York City Is Enacting The Ban

When the 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law in December, a lot of attention was paid to the new provisions surrounding industrial hemp, a form of cannabis. The law effectively legalized hemp at the federal level, clearing the way for derivative products, like CBD oil, as well. For the most part, this has clarified federal law where hemp is concerned and made high-quality CBD products easier to obtain. It’s the success and recognition of CBD and its benefits, however, that is now causing it to be removed from menu boards across the Big Apple as the City follows the FDA’s lead on CBD in food and drinks.

The FDA’s Position

For many years, the official FDA position was that CBD was not a dietary supplement, but was rather a food. Substances that are the active ingredient in a drug, however, can not be food additives. This hasn’t been a problem previously, as the FDA’s position on CBD was that any health or wellness claims were hearsay and that it was not considered an effective medicine. That all changed recently.

Epidolex, a drug meant to treat patients experiencing certain seizure-inducing conditions, was recently approved. Its active ingredient is almost 100% cannabidiol, also known as CBD. This highly purified form of CBD changes the way other CBD oils can be used–specifically, it prohibits CBD in food and drinks as an additive.

The Department Of Health Takes Notice

The New York City Department Of Health reacted quickly, issuing a ban. Under their rules, a food establishment can not add anything to food in NYC that is deemed to be unsafe, and the FDA’s stance, now that CBD is an active ingredient in a medication, is that CBD is no longer safe for food. Until or unless it is once again deemed safe, CBD in food and drinks is off the menu.

Espresso brewing on a machine

What This Means For Restaurants

While it came as a shock, there’s not much a restaurant can do to fight the ban. The FDA is following its long-held guidelines in determining that CBD, as an active drug ingredient, should no longer be allowed as a food additive, and the NYC-DOH is following its guidelines that keep the people of the Big Apple safe from contaminated foods. Food establishment operators have been asked to stop serving CBD immediately, return or destroy their remaining supply by July, and will face repercussions in October if they haven’t complied.

Less Convenient For Consumers

In practice, the ban will have little practical effect on consumer consumption of CBD. It does nothing to CBD users who want to put CBD in food and drinks they prepare themselves. It has definitely inconvenienced those who like professionally prepared food with CBD included as an ingredient, but it has not set a serious bar to their consumption. Yet.

Bureaucratic Necessity Or New, Troubling Trend?

The bigger concern for CBD advocates is whether or not this will become a trend. Many people support CBD due to the user’s ability to decide the right way to make it part of their life, and so recently after hemp’s re-legalization, any ban can’t help but bring back memories of the bad ‘ol days of prohibition.

While the approval of Epidolex has undoubtedly brought a measure of respect to cannabis and given long-time proponents a victory, it has also brought with it complications. Users have sought research, trials, and official acknowledgment for years of CBD’s benefits for better health and wellness, and now that the FDA has approved the use of the first CBD medicine for certain conditions, it has used that approval as a way to rein in its use by everyday people without a prescription. It’s natural to question if the FDA intends to pursue this course of action against other CBD oil products, but right now, there are no clear answers about if their attention will venture beyond CBD in food and drinks.

Be Informed

As a cannabis advocate, one of the most important things you can do is stay informed about policy changes that directly affect your CBD. We do more than just make and sell high-quality CBD products, we stay at the forefront of the emerging industry. Whether you have questions about any of our products or you need help placing an order for the best CBD on the market, contact CBD Choice today.

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