The blurring of EU rules for hemp-based foods and extracts – and the resulting withdrawals of products from the market – hit Finland's biggest CBD seller hard at the end of February. THE Hamppumaa, one of the largest importers and retailers of hemp juice and CBD products, said the decisions of national authorities forced the company into bankruptcy.
The Finnish Food Authority recently reported that “products such as Sana hemp juice that were being imported from the Netherlands are considered novel foods,” said Hamppumaa founder Oy Jaakko Myllyniemi. Additionally, the authorities justified that the products were withdrawn from the market due to traces of THC, to which Hamppumaa responded, justifying that they were well below the EU guideline limit of 0,2%.
following the guidelines
Among the various Sana Hemp products that Hamppumaa was marketing, Sana Hemp Cannabis Sativa Oil 2,5% contains 0,1% THC; and a variety of capsules, tablets and tinctures contain 0,01% THC or less, according to the producer's website.
Questions about THC levels and the EU's new food rules – a tighter and more stringent food safety regime – have sown trouble in member states over the past year. The wording of the rules affecting hemp and hemp extracts with CBD in their composition was updated last year in the Novel Food Catalog, a list of foods that are not seen as commonly consumed products in the states. EU members before 1997. The catalog is intended to track new genetic products or synthetic food products.
Problem spreads across Europe
The changes in the Novel Foods catalog led to a wave of notices to withdraw products from the market. This situation has resulted in the withdrawal of several hemp food products and extracts made from leaves and flowers from markets in Germany, the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Poland and Italy in the last year.
Hamppumaa, founded in 2014 when it started importing sprouted hemp seed products, was the first company in Finland to offer CBD products to Finnish consumers. “We managed to rank first in Google's organic search for CBD and we were the biggest seller of CBD products in Finland,” Myllyniemi said. “We had our products in over 100 health stores, covering every major city.”
New Food “Doesn’t Make Sense”
Finnish authorities, who have officially identified CBD as a novel food, have been quoted in social media with claims that hemp tea is not a New Food, but raw hemp juice is. “It doesn't make any sense,” Myllyniemi said.
Sana hemp juice contains 54 mg of CBD per 100 ml of hemp juice volume, well below the recommended level of 160 mg/100 ml for Europe. It is also below a daily intake reference of 70mg/100ml recently recommended by UK authorities.
Hamppumaa had plans to start a hemp seed production line this year and was expanding sponsorship of Finnish UFC fighters and other athletes. “We now have Sana Hemp Juice products worth €50 in stock that we cannot sell,” Myllyniemi said, noting that “payment difficulties and over-indebtedness” led to the decision to file for bankruptcy.
The company has appealed the decision to stop selling hemp seed products to administrative courts as it goes through bankruptcy, Myllyniemi said. It is unclear what will happen to this appeal in court in the future, nor how long it might take. “This company can go on, but nothing is certain yet,” Myllyniemi concluded.
Featured Photo: Hamppumaa website
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