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FDA Issues Warning On CBD Products, As Market Continues To Develop

December 3, 2019

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is again sounding an alarm against CBD-infused food products and supplements, noting that it “cannot conclude that CBD is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) among qualified experts for its use in human or animal food.”

Specifically, the FDA raised concerns about possible liver toxicity, interaction with other drugs, and the effects of cumulative use over time. The agency said it will continue to “work together with stakeholders and industry to fill in the knowledge gaps about the science, safety and quality of many of these products,” and added that it will provide another update on regulatory approaches in the coming weeks. In the meantime, the FDA issued warning letters to 15 companies it says have been improperly marketing CBD products in interstate commerce and as dietary supplements.

Major retailers like Kroger, Walgreens, and CVS are already present in the CBD category, with Kroger launching CBD offerings in 945 stores in 17 states earlier this year. Most recently, Southeastern Grocers, parent company of Bi-Lo and Winn-Dixie, announced plans to begin offering supplemental, pet, and topical forms of CBD at 152 of its stores in Florida and South Carolina. In the drinks category, CBD-infused labels like Sprig, Queen City, Daytrip, and Vybes have been expanding their footprints.

Among independent drinks retailers specifically, a recent survey from Drizly found that nearly one-third of respondents expect CBD-infused beverages to “meaningfully grow business, while 22% see them as a possible niche at most.” Just over 30% either don’t anticipate selling CBD products or are not familiar with the category. Conducted in May, the Drizly study included 200 owners or managers of independent liquor stores across the county.—Daniel Marsteller

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