Cannabis as an ingredient in food or supplements (Switzerland)

Hemp seeds, hemp seed oil, hemp seed flour, defatted hemp seed from cannabis sativa seeds are not considered to be novel foodstuffs and are not subject to authorisation. In Switzerland, herbal tea produced from leaves of the hemp plant is fundamentally considered not to be a novel foodstuff. However, any food business operator who wants to produce, import, or place on the market herbal teas obtained from the hemp plant must provide proof that the herbal tea was already consumed as a foodstuff to a sig-nificant degree prior to 15 May 1997, and therefore cannot be classified as a novel foodstuff. Hemp extracts that contain cannabinoids are listed in the Novel Food Catalogue of the European Commission as novel foods because their use as a foodstuff prior to the 15 May 1997 cannot be confirmed. Consequently, the hemp extracts themselves, as well as products that contain hemp extracts as an ingredient, are novel foods in Switzerland as well. They may only be placed on the market with an authorisation from the Swiss Federal Food Safety and Veter-inary Office (FSVO) or from the European Commission.

This is general information rather than legal advice and is current as of 30 May 2024. We recommend you contact a specialised food lawyer for legal advice for your particular circumstances to support commercial decisions which could impact your product or business.

Karola Krell