Hemp in cosmetics, commission backs down after our complaint


Following our denunciation of the European Commission’s wrongdoing in excluding CBD and hemp oil from the cosmetic ingredients allowed in the EU-which was immediately flagged in a written question by Italian MEP Marco Zullo-Brussels has backtracked. A victory for farmers and operators who process Cannabis Sativa L., as well as for European consumAtors. But that is not enough, we must now resolve the other issue we raised(Novel Food) and investigate the disloyal officials in Brussels.

Hemp in food and cosmetics, GIFT’s complaint

On 12.3.19 Great Italian Food Trade (GIFT). denounced the sudden as well as illegitimate exclusion of CBD (cannabidiol) and hemp seed oil from the register of ingredients allowed in the EU in cosmetics (Cosind, Cosmetic Ingredient Database), by the European Commission (DG Grow, Unit D4). The reason for the restriction was a false reference to the 1961 UN Convention on Narcotic Drugs. (1)

We also denounced

the unacceptable uncertainties about the legitimate use of

Cannabis Sativa L.

low THC content, its parts and derivatives, in food productions. Uncertainties that the European Commission (DG


, Unit E2) has a duty to solve and instead had the effrontery to introduce in the EU catalog of ‘

Novel Food

‘. Prefiguring possible restrictions on the free movement of goods in the Internal Market on the basis of national restrictions that the Brussels institution has a specific duty to intercept and remove.

Hemp in food and cosmetics, Hon. Marco Zullo’s question

On 3/15/19, Hon. Marco Zullo (M5S, Italy) followed up on our complaint by submitting aquestion to the European Commission, the text of which is attached:

The last few years have seen the rediscovery of the cultivation of Cannabis sativa and the marketing of its derivative products, which until a few decades ago was widely used in the European agricultural scene. However, the recent change that has occurred in the ‘Novel Food Catalogue’ threatens to undermine this recovering industry.

Can the Commission explain whether it intends to quickly adopt a legal standard that would also homogenize the Single Market for food/cosmetic products that contain extracts of Hemp Sativa L, ensuring a consistent approach at the European level?

It also appears that the Commission has recently decided to exclude hemp derivatives such as cannabidiol and hemp seed oil from the register of allowed cosmetic ingredients, citing the UN Convention on Narcotic Drugs as justification. This convention, however, does not subject cannabidiol to any restrictions, as there are no apparent psychotropic effects associated with this substance, while the seed oil itself is recognized by the Commission as a traditional food, and therefore not considered a narcotic or psychotropic substance.

Can the Commission clarify the reasons for this decision, which appears potentially dangerous for the many companies in the sector, and not justified in light of the international conventions mentioned? (Marco Zullo, European Parliament, written question to the European Commission, 15.3.19)

CBD and hemp oil in cosmetics, the European Commission’s backtrack

Following GIFT’s complaint and MEP Marco Zullo’s question, unfaithful officials in Brussels immediately changed the database of cosmetic ingredients. Removing bans on the use of CBD and hemp seed oil introduced a couple of months earlier. This resolved a problem that in a matter of weeks had caused harm to cosmetic manufacturers already using such ingredients, as well as to those about to launch new products.

Two issues, which are vital to European hemp farming and food processing, remain to be addressed. As well as for citizens/voters. The proper functioning and reputation of the European Commission:

– Unambiguously clarify the legality of production and marketing in the Internal Market of Cannabis Sativa L. Low THC content for food use. With explicit reference to each part of the plant (seeds, stems, inflorescences) and derived products (oil, flour). The Commission must take immediate action to remove any regulatory obstacles placed at the national level, which cannot be justified by the need to protect food safety and/or public health since precisely these are foodstuffs,

activate investigations against disloyal civil servants, at DG Grow (Unit D4) and DG Sanco (Unit E2) of the European Commission. Who have abused their powers of office, disapplying existing rules through acts that have no justification and instead cause economic harm to agricultural, food and cosmetic businesses in the EU.

One cannot believe that the sudden introduction of completely unjustified prohibitions and uncertainties contrary to the Treaty resulted only from the unpreparedness or stupidity of officials. Rather, we need to investigate which lobbyists were met with by members of the two Units involved in the past 12 months, in and out of office, in connection with which files. Bringing back legality and transparency now.

Dario Dongo


(1)Theprograms of ‘The International Drug Control Conventions‘ (1961, last update 16.5.18, at https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/V18/027/50/PDF/V1802750.pdf?OpenElement) do indeed report, in Schedule IV, at ‘cannabis and cannabis resins‘. However, without distinguishing the cultivar (Cannabis Indica e Cannabis Sativa L.), nor identify the psychotropic substance (tetrahydrocannabinol, THC) that is relevant to the plant’s classification as a narcotic. Therefore, both the

Cannabis Sativa L.

low in THC (<0.2%)


as much as poppy seeds devoid of the psychotropic effects of opioids

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.