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31. January 2020
Europe News Regulation

Italy Sets Testing Standards for CBD Foods

Italy has announced new standards that place limits on the level of THC that can be found in foods which include hemp grain based ingredients.

Under the limits, which were published on the 15th of January, all food products that include hemp-based grains and oil derived from hempseed as ingredients will be required to not exceed the threshold in order to be marketed and sold in the country.

The new testing standards have been welcomed by producers who have been awaiting guidance on the levels of THC that can be legally found in products, and they open the door to a more regulated hemp-food market.

The country’s move follows similar standards set by other European countries including Germany. Italy is considered a European tier 1 market for hemp-based products and the new clarification will help manufacturers to more confidently market their goods in the region.

The levels set by the Italian Ministry of Health determine maximum THC levels as:

  • 2 milligrams per kilogram for flour, seeds and supplements derived from hempseed (grain)
  • 5 milligrams per kilogram for oil derived from hempseed

These levels will apply only to hemp food derived from the plant’s grain, not foods infused with CBD or other cannabinoids. CBD foods are considered “novel foods” in the European Union, which means the products must undergo premarket safety assessments before they can be sold.

A farmers group in Italy welcomed the move, saying it “finally gives answers to the hundreds of farms that have invested in the cultivation of hemp.

The Italian National Confederation of Independent Farmers (Coldiretti) said the country’s hemp cultivation increased tenfold between 2013 and 2018, from 400 hectares (988 acres) to almost 4,000 hectares (9,884 acres).

The long-awaited publication (of the THC limits) clarifies a sector that in recent years has seen a real boom” in products such as bread, cookies, ricotta cheese and beer, the group said.

The Italian Ministry of Health’s announcement also outlines clear guidance relating to testing standards.


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