HomeHealthcareHemp sativa and herbal teas, ABC

Hemp sativa and herbal teas, ABC

Sativa hemp, food and herbal teas. Italy was the protagonist in the its crops, second only to the Soviet Union, until the last century. Unfortunately ignoring its virtuous nutritional properties until a few decades ago. It is right now that the Cannabis Sactive and its derivatives emerge on international markets, the national supply chain risks getting entangleda in the uncertainty of the law. A summary, theABC.

Cannabis sativa for food use, the European regulatory context

The European Commission has already recognized the consolidated presence of hemp in the old continent. No.on sunor in cosmetics and traditional pharmacopoeia, but also among commonly used foods. Just think of the semi, tooil and to hemp flour, to which numerous studies attribute the role of 'ssuperfood'.

'In the European Union, the cultivation of Cannabis sativa L varieties is granted provided they are registered in the EU's'Common Catalog of Varieties of Agricultural Plant Species'and the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content does not exceed 0.2% of the plant. Without prejudice to other legal requirements concerning the consumption of hemp (Cannabis sativa) and hemp products, Regulation (EU) 2015/2283 on novel foods is not applicable to most foods and food ingredients from this plant.'(European Commission)

It must therefore be excluded the application of the regulation on novel foodat the 'most food and food ingredients'which derive from this plant, according to the Brussels notice. The threshold of 0,2% of THC- that is to say, the tolerable limit of psychoactive substance - had already been introduced, in hindsight, in the now distant year 2000 (by means of reg. CE 2860/00, referring to the varietyà fiber hemp). And it was recently confirmed, in the framework of the common agricultural policy (EU reg. 639/14, as amended by EU reg. 1308/13, Annex X).

Food safety authorities from various European countries - including Germany, Belgium and Switzerland - have in turn established the prudential limits of THC on various food matrices derived from cannabis (eg seeds, oil, flour, herbal teas). Following the scientific risk assessments adopted by institutes, such as the German BfR, known for their particularly conservative approaches.

The principle of mutual recognition, which the EU Court of Justice introduced with the historic ruling 'Dijon Cassis', prohibits Member States from hindering the circulation of food placed on the internal market via other countries, in compliance with common law. Conversely, where the national authority intends to limit the marketing of products (e.g. herbal teas) authorized elsewhere, it must demonstrate the inadequacy of the risk assessment expressed by the authority of another member country and substantiate its decisions in terms of concrete protection needs. public health.

Hemp for food use, the situation in Italy

La Law 242 / 2016 expressly refers at the 'hemp for the agri-food chain', with maximum THC levels established during the cultivation phase. 0,2, with a tolerance margin of up to 0,6 and non-punishable by the grower, within the aforementioned limit, provided that the supply of only the varieties of Cannabis sativa provided for in the Single European Catalog (list of suppliers, seed tags, accounting documents, supply traceability).

The goal of the Italian legislator has been to promote the integrity of the supply chain of national hemp. With the idea of ​​guaranteeing crops based on safety and quality, in view of the 'production of innovative food, cosmetics, biodegradable raw materials and semi-finished products for industries in different sectors'. In compliance, as is obvious, with every rule to protect consumers (also from the point of view of information), plant health, biodiversity and the environment.

The Ministry of Health and that of Productive Activities should have defined with appropriate deeds, within 6 months of the publication of the 2016 law, the tolerable levels of THC in the various categories of foods based on Cannabis sativa. A dutiful and indispensable act for all operators in the supply chain, to ensure legal certainty and thus entrust the investments dedicated to a promising crop. But Carlo Calenda and Beatrice Lorenzin they missed the roll. And to the uncertainty caused by their inaction was added that caused by a improvised CSS document.

THEISS, Higher Institute of Health, is the only body entitled to assess food safety risks and has therefore been charged with expressing a scientific opinion useful for establishing the technical limits of THC on the various food matrices, pursuant to law 242/2016. Opinion expected within the next few weeks. In the meantime, the Ministry of the Interior - with its own circular 31.7.18 - has clarified that

- the tolerance for THC levels between 0,2 and 0,6 is valid only in the field and limited to farmers,

- in the subsequent phases, including the purpose of selling inflorescences for technical-collecting uses, the limit is set at 0,5% for inflorescences.

The Ministry of the Interior he thus provided useful instructions to the judicial police officers afterwards the unfortunate misunderstanding that occurred under the previous government. When the Financial Police of Ponte Chiasso, 23.1.18, kidnapped over 60 kg of inflorescences e other products (oil al CBD and infusions for herbal teas). Carriers - complaintti apfree iede for drug trafficking (!) - they were then exonerated by the Public Prosecutor's Office which, followed dtoxicological analyzes that revealed a THC concentration of less than 0,2%,obtained the filing of the proceedings.

Hemp for herbal tea, le dutiful attentions

Waiting dand the ISS opinion and the consequent ministerial acts, it is recommended to all operators in the distribution chain and consumers of herbal teas based on inflorescences of hemp the adoption of some precautions:

- verify the actual origin of the product from the botanical species admitted in the Single European Catalog (selected for the reduced content of psychoactive substances),

- avoid the purchase of inflorescences in bulk form or contained in anonymous packaging (ie without the information necessary to identify the nature of the product and the responsible operator) or unsealed.

Food safety it must also be carefully checked by importers and distributors. Who are responsible like the Osa (food sector operators), within the framework of the integrated supply chain responsibility introduced by General Food Law (reg. EC 178/02, article 17). Attention must be paid, especially in the case of imported raw materials, to the following risks. Which deserve the adoption of specific sampling and analysis protocols, during self-control according to the HACCP method:

- contaminants referred to in reg. THERE IS1881/06 (e.g. dioxins, PCBs). To be evaluated with extreme caution, in the face of the vacuum legislation on the food matrix in question,

- residues of heavy metals and any phytosanitary metabolites (also taking into account, for example, neighboring crops).

- THC residues to be evaluated with regard to both the agricultural raw material and the food product (herbal tea).

Consumer information must follow the rules that apply to the generality of foods. Having particular regard to the optional information on the label which, according to the provisions of reg. EU 1169/11 (article 36), must not mislead the consumer about the nature and properties of the product. Finally, it is useful to remember that any suggestion of hypothetical health virtues - including references to psychological or cognitive functions, for example on a sense of relaxation and other amenities - involves the application of the so-called Nutrition & Health Claims Regulation, NHC, reg. EC 1924/06.

Dario Dongo

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.

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