The UK authority had said at the end of January that it expected all applications to be validated by March 31st and advised companies submit applications by February 8 in order to allow time for the eight working days for an administrative check and a further 30 working days for validation.
However, the authority announced yesterday that companies can continue to make their applications until March 31, after receiving many applications in the last few weeks.
Emily Miles, Chief Executive of the FSA, said: “Applying for novel food authorisation is the only way CBD products can remain on sale here. For the past year, we’ve been encouraging all businesses to submit good quality applications as a matter of urgency.
“However, we have received a large number of applications close to the deadline. This means that, in order to process these properly, we are adapting the criteria of products allowed to remain on sale from April 1.
“For some time now we’ve been supporting a pragmatic and proportionate approach to CBD regulation. Our commitment to ensuring that consumers know these products are being checked for safety remains firm.”
Whereas the FSA had previously intended to publish a list of validated products on April 1, it has now loosened this and instead said it will publish a list in April which will be regularly updated.
Shomi Malik, external affairs director at the ACI (Association for the Cannabinoid Industry), says: "On the surface, it seems that the goalposts have moved again, but it's actually positive news for the sector. The deadline is still the 31st of March, but that is now to have your application submitted to the FSA, and not the validation deadline. This means that there is still time for companies to engage in this process and keep their products on the shelves from April 1st 2021, but you have to move quickly. We are already assisting a number of our members with their dossiers in light of today's FSA statement.
"The other significant takeaway from today's update is that there will be two approved products lists, or at least a clear demarcation between those dossiers that have been validated, and those that haven't. How will retailers react to yet another item to gain clarity on?"