Why GMP is not good enough for CBD Oil

There are a lot of worrying signals about the freely marketable CBD industry. The hype is causing many traders to jump in, trying to make a quick buck. These people are often not familiar with trade of food supplements and do not know what they do not know. This becomes dangerous when it comes to the quality and safety aspects of the CBD oil they are trading. How can they know that they are trading a safe product? Do they know what to check for? Most CBD oil traders say that their product is safe, because “it is GMP”. This is not a convincing argument and in this blog I will explain why.

Good manufacturing practices (GMP) are the practices required in order to conform to the guidelines recommended by agencies that control the authorization and licensing of the manufacture and sale of food and beverages, cosmetics, pharmaceutical products, dietary supplements, and medical devices. These guidelines provide minimum requirements that a manufacturer must meet to assure that their products are consistently high in quality, from batch to batch, for their intended use. The rules that govern each industry may differ significantly; however, the main purpose of GMP is always to prevent harm from occurring to the end user.

Most of us associate the letters GMP with the pharmaceutical quality standard of production. To produce and sell these products you need permission from at least your national government’s health department. For food products however, you do not need permission from anyone to produce and sell products and claim GMP. You do not even need a third party certification. You are however by law obliged to put safe products on the market. But if you do not know what you do not know…

In order to protect traders and retailers, and eventually the consumer, the GFSI Benchmarking Requirements were created. GFSI aims to improve food safety. GFSI’s work in benchmarking and harmonisation fosters mutual acceptance of GFSI-recognised certification programmes across the industry and enables a simplified “once certified, recognised everywhere” approach. The GFSI Benchmarking process is now the most-widely recognised in the food industry worldwide. The Benchmarking Requirements are built through consensus of experts and members and based on internationally-recognised standards such as ISO and CodexAlimentarius. They form a shared and widely-accepted understanding of what constitutes a robust food safety certification programme. Private Certification Programmes (like IFS, BRC or FSSC22000) may achieve GFSI recognition through benchmarking of their governance rules and the content of their standard. For more information visit https://mygfsi.com/.

There is also, worldwide, no company that has market authorisation for a pharmaceutical GMP full spectrum or broad spectrum CBD oil. If you can get it, it is solely with a recipe from your general physician and via your pharmacist. This means that all freely marketable full or broad spectrum CBD oil cannot be produced under certified pharmaceutical GMP conditions.

There are a few things that can go wrong here, causing a safety risk:

  1. GMP cosmetical products can be traded as food products. GMP does not have the same rules for cosmetics and food, because in the case of cosmetics it assumes you do not consume it. It can be unsafe for consumption. Scrub salt for instance can be made of inedible salts.
  2. The producer or trader can claim GMP, without being assessed by a third party. It is the responsibility of the trader or retailer to check if the product he is selling really is safe for the intended use. The trader or retailer should know how, but often does not.

As a consumer you should not have to worry about these issues, but unfortunately it is a real risk in the CBD oil market. For traders and retailers I advice to solely buy CBD oil that is produced under a GFSI approved certification. The quality of these products is approved by a professsional third party. Examples are IFS, BRC and FSSC22000. Please note! There are companies that are certified for filling the CBD oil in bottles, but this does not mean that the CBD oil was produced under the same certification.

I am convinced that with maturation of the young CBD oil market, only established brands will remain that can be trusted by consumers. The future is bright.