Public health testing and certification organization moves to protect consumers using products containing hemp or hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Global public health organization NSF International today 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, Inc. (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 United States 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 labeling requirements, which creates potential risk and confusion for consumers,” said Lori Bestervelt, Ph.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Technical Officer at NSF International. “Even established brands may have limited experience sourcing, authenticating, producing and packaging products containing hemp or hemp-derived CBD.”

With scientific expertise and decades of experience in testing and certification in the relevant product categories, NSF International is uniquely qualified to serve the fast-growing hemp industry in the United States and protect consumers who use these products.

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 labeled amounts
  • THC at more than 0.3% by dry weight

“As a mission-driven organization focused on protecting and improving human health, NSF International is committed to providing services that help manufacturers produce, process and package products made with hemp or hemp-derived CBD consistent with GMPs, appropriate quality-control procedures and applicable labeling requirements,” Bestervelt said.

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 International. “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 program. “Once that permissible level is identified, we will begin certifying supplements that contain hemp and hemp-derived CBD.”

For information about NSF’s dietary supplement services, please contact dietarysupplements@nsf.org. For information about non-GMO or gluten-free food product certifications, please contact consumervalues@nsf.org. For information on USDA organic certification from Quality Assurance International, please contact qai@qai-inc.com.

Please direct media inquiries to Thomas Frey, APR, at media@nsf.org or +1.734.214.6242.

In 2019, NSF International is celebrating 75 years of protecting and improving human health. The independent, global organization facilitates standards development, and tests, audits and certifies products for the food, water, health sciences, sustainability and consumer goods industries to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment. With operations in 180 countries, NSF is committed to protecting human health and safety worldwide. NSF International is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center on Food Safety, Water Quality and Indoor Environment.

Founded in 1989, Quality Assurance International is the leading provider of organic certification services verifying organic integrity throughout the supply chain. Additional certification services include transitional, gluten-free, kosher, natural personal care, social responsibility and food safety through its parent company NSF International. QAI remains dedicated to the environment, while providing educational outreach to the organic community, customers and consumers. Headquartered in San Diego, Calif., the company has grown to include operations in the U.S., Canada, Latin America and the European Union.