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Lidl recalls hemp products over high THC levels

Lidl has recalled hemp products sold in its Irish stores and warned customers over high THC levels.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has issued a recall notice for all Vita D’ or Bio-Organic Hemp Seed Oil and all Mogota Hemp Tea sold at Lidl with a best before date of 31 December, 2022.

A statement from FSAI said they were being recalled due to “elevated levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)”. 

Customers are being asked not to consume the products and to return them to stores for a full refund.

It comes after Lidl recalled cannabis-related products in its German shops following a police raid in a Bavarian store.

German police raided the Rosenheim branch of the Lidl over CBD cookies and other products including cannabis energy drinks and brownies.

The supermarket giant signed a multimillion dollar deal with cannabis food suppliers, The Green Dealers to sell its products, which are thought to contain no CBD or THC.

They were said to be removed from shelves as a “precautionary measure” while investigations were carried out.

However, in a statement following the recall the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA), which represents hemp farmers, producers and traders, has said the decision is based on “inaccurate guideline values”.

Daniel Kruse, president of EIHA commented: “Hemp seed oil is a safe and popular oil among consumers  containing valuable omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The review will show that this  hemp seed oil is marketable and does not have any intoxicating effects. Moreover, it  should be clarified that, when talking about THC, only a high intake of delta-9 THC  can have intoxicating effects, while the so-called THCA, the THC acid, has no  intoxicating effect at all.”

In Germany, there is currently no defined limit value for THC consumption from food.  The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has given unnecessarily low guideline values for ready-to-eat products.

For two decades EIHA has been advocating for a harmonised and science-based approach to THC levels in food across the EU.

It is hoped that by the end of 2021 the European Commission will adopt binding limits for THC in foodstuffs across Europe, including 7.5 mg/kg total THC  for hemp seed oil.

This would bring the limits in line with other countries such as North America, and Australia.

Lorenza Romanese, EIHA managing director said: “We urgently need these limit values in Europe. Today, operators are facing regulatory  divergence across Member States that do have a negative impact on their businesses by hindering the trade of these products. What the sector needs the most is legal  certainty based on recent studies. We should precisely put consumers first by offering  them crystal clear information and transparency on what they are buying.”

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