The European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) recommended that hemp leaves for herbal infusion should not be considered as Novel Food, and EU member states accepted this position.
EIHA on the way to clarify hemp as Novel Food
Following months of discussion, Member States have decided to change the Novel Food Catalogue. They did that in accordance with the EIHA’s viewpoint for many years. Hemp leaves are specifically exempted from the novel food laws in the updated catalogue. Now it allows their sale as traditional food for herbal infusion. The amendment took effect right away on June 2, 2023. It seems to be a crucial turning point for the hemp industry.
The EIHA’s President, Mr. Daniel Kruse, expressed happiness at the successful accomplishment, saying:
“This achievement underscores the importance of collective industry efforts in normalising the hemp plant and its products. For years, EIHA has been engaged in discussions with EU Institutions and Member States on Novel Food legislation, and we are pleased to see scientific evidence and historical facts prevailing over prejudice.”
The new catalogue contains an entry “Cannabis sativa L.”. So it includes an extensive list of additional hemp products that are not subject to the novel food regulation.
Prior to 1997, EIHA provided information from a number of Member States. They were showing that people used hemp leaves often, especially as aqueous infusions. This evidence supported exemption request. Additionally, the new classification is consistent with the 1961 Single Convention, which expressly exempts hemp leaves. The decision brings legal clarity to the marketing of hemp seed-derived food and leaves for water infusion across Europe. It also removes doubts and can potentially increase revenue for farmers and businesses.
Future of hemp in the European Union
EIHA’s managing director, Lorenza Romanese, expressed her happiness with the result and emphasised the benefits it will bring to operators throughout the EU. She said, that:
“We hope that this engagement will prevent operators in many EU countries from suffering from misleading interpretation, seizures, and unnecessary administrative requirements.”
Overall, EIHA represents the interests of the European hemp industry. The association commits to develop a sustainable hemp industry in Europe and ensure the full exploitation of hemp’s potential.