Italy sets THC limits, testing standards for hemp food

Italy put in place a THC limit for foods made from hemp’s grain, giving producers “long-awaited” guidance for bringing products to market.

The Italy Ministry of Health set the maximum THC levels at:

  • 2 milligrams per kilogram for flour, seeds and supplements derived from hempseed (grain).
  • 5 milligrams per kilogram for oil derived from hempseed.

Italy set the limits in a decree published Jan. 15. The levels apply only to hemp food derived from the plant’s grain, not foods infused with CBD or other cannabinoids.

CBD foods are considered “novel foods” in the European Union, which means the products must undergo premarket safety assessments before they can be sold.

A farmers group in Italy welcomed the hempseed THC decree, saying it “finally gives answers to the hundreds of farms that have invested in the cultivation of hemp.”

The Italian National Confederation of Independent Farmers (Coldiretti) said the country’s hemp cultivation increased tenfold between 2013 and 2018, from 400 hectares (988 acres) to almost 4,000 hectares (9,884 acres).

“The long-awaited publication (of the THC limits) clarifies a sector that in recent years has seen a real boom” in products such as bread, cookies, ricotta cheese and beer, the group said.

Under Italy’s new hemp decree:

Italy’s THC limits for oil match those set by Germany, though Italy’s THC limits are higher for other foodstuffs.