NSF debuts validation services for hemp and hemp-derived CBD

The NSF subsidiary Quality Assurance International (QAI), a USDA-accredited organic certifier, will now offer the services

NSF International’s Senior Research Scientist, John Travis, prepares a hemp extract sample for testing

Global public health organisation NSF International has announced it is providing a wide variety of independent testing, verification, auditing and certification services to manufacturers of consumer products containing hemp and hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD).

NSF subsidiary Quality Assurance International (QAI), a USDA-accredited organic certifier, began offering organic certification of hemp and hemp-derived CBD products last month.

Hemp and hemp-derived CBD are widely available in the US in products ranging from dietary supplements, beverages and edibles to oils, creams and sprays.

“These products can be manufactured and marketed by small start-ups with little expertise in quality management, Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) and labelling requirements, which creates potential risk and confusion for consumers,” said Lori Bestervelt, PhD, Executive VP and Chief Technical Officer at NSF. “Even established brands may have limited experience sourcing, authenticating, producing and packaging products containing hemp or hemp-derived CBD.”

Even established brands may have limited experience sourcing, authenticating, producing and packaging products containing hemp or hemp-derived CBD

As is true for all ingredients, rigorous standards, validated tests and third-party audits are needed to protect consumers purchasing food, dietary supplements and personal care products containing hemp or hemp-derived CBD. Without rigorous requirements and testing, hemp and hemp-derived CBD products may contain:

  • Pesticides, heavy metals and other contaminants
  • E. coli, Salmonella and other microbes
  • Undeclared ingredients
  • Quantities of ingredients that conflict with labelled amounts
  • THC at more than 0.3% by dry weight

NSF International and QAI are now offering the following services to manufacturers of food, dietary supplements and personal care products:

  • Raw ingredient verification
  • Raw material and single ingredient finished goods testing of hemp products to quantify CBD and confirm permissible levels of THC
  • GMP audits
  • USDA organic certification
  • Gap and consulting audits
  • Label compliance consulting
  • Training and education
  • NSF’s non-GMO certification
  • NSF’s certified gluten-free certification

“Consumers care about what’s in their food and how it was produced. That’s true for many different types of products, including ones that contain hemp and hemp-derived CBD,” said Sarah Krol, Director of Food Safety Certification at NSF. “Independent certification from QAI and NSF gives consumers confidence in the products they choose because they know we’ve taken a very close look at those certified products and the way they were grown, processed or handled. Certification provides a level of transparency and trust that consumers simply can’t get any other way.”

Beginning in October 2019, NSF International plans to offer the following additional services for products containing hemp or hemp-derived CBD:

  • Certification to the American National Standard for Dietary Supplements: NSF/ANSI 173
  • Toxicologic evaluation
  • Supplier assurance audits
  • Verification of food safety programs involving hemp and hemp-derived CBD
  • Evaluation and/or certification of food equipment used for hemp and hemp-derived CBD
  • ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 audits for facilities

“Our toxicology team is currently working to identify an upper safety limit for CBD in dietary supplements,” said David Trosin, General Manager of NSF’s dietary supplements programme. “Once that permissible level is identified, we will begin certifying supplements that contain hemp and hemp-derived CBD.”

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