News Release

Assessing hemp-containing foodstuff

The BfR recommends acute reference dose as basis for assessing hemp-containing foodstuff

Peer-Reviewed Publication

BfR Federal Institute for Risk Assessment

In order to avoid the occurrence of such effects, the Federal Institute for Health Protection of Consumers and Veterinary Medicine (BgVV) recommended guidance values for maximum THC levels in various food groups in 2000. The guidance value for beverages was given as 0.005 mg/kg, for edible oils with 5 mg/kg and for all other foods with 0.150 mg/kg. In 2018, the BfR came to the conclusion that these values no longer correspond to current scientific knowledge.

Instead, the BfR recommends that the toxicological assessment of hemp-containing foods be carried out on the basis of the acute reference dose (ARfD) of 1 microgram Δ-THC/kg body-weight derived by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in 2015. The ARfD specifies the estimated maximum quantity of a substance that can be consumed with food in the course of one day - either during one meal or during several meals - without a detectable risk to health. From the point of view of the BfR, whether the ARfD can possibly be exceeded should be checked on a case-by-case basis for each product under assessment. The measured THC levels and the estimated consumption quantities are used for this assessment. Information on the latter can be found in the "EFSA Comprehensive European Food Consumption Database".


Link to BfR Opinion No 006/2021 issued 17 February 2021:

About the BfR

The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is a scientifically independent institution within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) in Germany. It advises the German federal government and German federal states ("Laender") on questions of food, chemical and product safety. The BfR conducts its own research on topics that are closely linked to its assessment tasks.

This text version is a translation of the original German text which is the only legally binding version.

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