Working Group

Joint ACNFP and COT Subgroup on CBD Terms of Reference

Last updated: 09 October 2023

Following the work of the FSA in seeking to bring the Cannabidiol (CBD) industry into compliance with relevant food law, a significant number of applications have been received under the Novel Food Regulations. Building on the work of the Committee on Toxicity (COT) that there are a number of toxicological questions to be addressed in order to inform the assessment of the applications for CBD ingredients as novel foods and to support consumers in using the products safely. Given the joint interest of the ACNFP and COT, a joint Subgroup was formed to consider toxicological questions posed by CBD ingredients and hemp derived products.


To report to the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods & Processes (ACNFP) and Committee on Toxicity (COT) and advise the Food Standards Agency(FSA) and Food Standards Scotland (FSS) on any matters relating to the cross-cutting issues with CBD and hemp derived products, having regard where appropriate to the views of relevant expert bodies.

Strong links will be maintained between the Subgroup and both parent committees to provide governance and oversight, with the ACNFP carrying out the overall authorisation of CBD and the COT having responsibilities to advise on toxicity where appropriate.

A definition of CBD and the various related controlled cannabinoids and hemp-related terms can be found on CBD, other cannabinoids and hemp-related ingredients: GOV.UK.

Terms of Reference

  • Provide expert technical scientific advice on cross cutting issues relating to the toxicology of components of cannabidiol ingredients and other hemp derived products.
  • Specifically, to review any additional data now available to inform the identification of a safe upper intake level for CBD.
  • In light of the advice of the Committee on the Misuse of Drugs, consider whether the available evidence for THC in food as a contaminant supports identification of a safe level in this context or indicates safety concerns for THC present as a contaminant.
  • Highlight key evidence gaps in relation to cannabidiol and other cannabinoids in order to support collaborative working for these to be addressed.


The Subgroup will report back to the main Committee meetings on its discussions and recommendations. It is expected there would be a standing update item on the ACNFP meeting agenda. Written items may also be presented to the Committees for peer review and quality assurance.


The ACNFP-COT-CBD Subgroup is composed of a number of experts from the main ACNFP and COT Committees, covering toxicological and other relevant expertise.

Ways of working

A member from both the ACNFP and COT secretariat will be in attendance and provide administrative support to the Subgroup as well as a communication channel with the ACNFP and COT. The Co-Chairs of the CBD Subcommittee and Chairs of the ACNFP and COT will work together in making sure all members of the ACNFP, COT and the Subcommittee are aware of the work programme and core outputs are delivered in a timely way.