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Kroger to sell topical CBD products

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Market for CBD products is growing, despite uncertainty

CINCINNATI — Kroger Co. has confirmed that it plans to begin selling topical products infused with CBD in 945 stores across 17 states. The products are set to be on those store shelves by the end of the month.

“Like many retailers, we are offering our customers a highly curated collection of topical products like lotions, balms, oils and creams that are infused with hemp-derived CBD,” a company spokeswoman said in a statement. “CBD is a naturally occurring and non-intoxicating compound that has promising benefits and is permitted within federal and state regulations. Our limited selection of hemp-derived CBD topical products is from suppliers that have been reviewed for quality and safety.”

Consumer interest in CBD products is growing, and Kroger is joining a number of retailers — including Walgreens and CVS — that are selling CBD products in some stores. But legal ambiguities about the category remains an issue, particularly when it comes to ingestible products. The Food and Drug Administration held a public hearing on May 31, as part of the agency’s effort to decide how and whether to create a clearer legal pathway for CBD-infused products.

The Food Marketing Institute was among the trade groups that commented at the hearing, and volunteered to be a resource for the FDA as it moves forward.

“Given the complex regulatory landscape and growing consumer interest in products containing hemp, especially CBD, FMI regularly fields a wide range of questions from member companies that, understandably, seek clarity about the current regulatory framework for the sale and labeling of these products,” FMI president and CEO Leslie Sarasin said. “A challenge for us is that the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, or Farm Bill, contains several provisions that allow for the cultivation, production, and commercialization of industrial hemp and hemp-derivatives like CBD. However, the new law did not alter FDA’s authority over the use of such ingredients in FDA-regulated products; not to mention the role of other regulatory agencies and the states. Food retailers recognize the confusion among the public, suppliers and retailers, and state regulators as a result of the Farm Bill language.

“It remains our intention to be in full compliance with all FDA requirements. As such, we seek appropriate assurances regarding the safety of these products and the legality of how – and where – they are merchandised.”


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