With all the available options on the market, purchasing products made with hemp and hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) can be daunting. Add in a lack of standardized regulation and consistent testing, and it makes exploring these product even more of a challenge.

That’s where the U.S. Hemp Authority (USHA) comes in. The organization aims to ease consumers’ concerns and promote consistency, quality and safety by offering hemp growers, manufacturers and brands the opportunity to achieve U.S. Hemp Authority Certification.

To highlight the certification program, the USHA and FoodChain ID will host a free webinar, “Gaining Trust: The Value of U.S. Hemp Authority Certification,” to address best practices for building greater consumer and retail confidence in hemp-based and CBD products.

Scheduled for Tuesday, June 23 at 12 p.m. EST, the webinar will feature input from USHA President Marielle Weintraub and David Gould, FoodChain ID global head of sustainability programs.

Ahead of the webinar, Weintraub spoke to Cannabis Products about the certification program, industry self-regulation and earning consumer trust.

CP: Why is it important to offer a certification for CBD products?

MW: I believe the main challenge facing reputable, quality-focused and consumer safety-conscious hemp companies are all the other companies that are throwing products together and selling them with misleading labels and illegal disease claims. Unfortunately, the good and the not-so-good hemp companies all get lumped together, and it can be very hard for consumers to understand which products they should be purchasing.

CP: How does not having federal guidance affect the overall safety of CBD products? How does it affect the growth of the industry?

MW: In these early stages of rapid growth, the industry needs to prove itself as a consistent, credible, quality producer of goods that consumers can use with confidence. As we wait for further FDA guidance, the industry has taken steps to self-regulate in order to meet these objectives by convening multi-stakeholder initiatives, engaging both the private and public sector. By increasingly demonstrating its capacity to self-regulate, the sector can be a reliable counterpart to legislative efforts, helping to make federal and state regulations clearer, more uniform and appropriate to the particular nature of hemp products.

CP: Who can pursue USHA certification? What can applicants expect?

MW: USHA developed this comprehensive guidance for growers, processors/manufacturers and brand owners of ingestible and cosmetic hemp products. Participants are licensed to use the Certified Seal of the U.S. Hemp Authority after meeting stringent self-regulatory standards, passing an independent third-party audit and entering into a Licensing Agreement. Companies can then use the seal to easily signify to consumers that their brand and products can be trusted.  

CP: Why partner with FoodChain ID? What role do they fulfill?

MW: FoodChain ID, one of the world’s leading food safety, testing and sustainability organizations, is now the exclusive certifying body for the U.S. Hemp Authority (USHA) Certification seal. It was just recognized by Emerald Scientific’s Emerald Test for its skill in cannabis testing and commitment to good science in the cannabis industry. 

Widely recognized for the development, implementation, and marketing of the highly recognized Non-GMO Project Verification labeling standard, FoodChain ID offers specialized services for the food, beverage, ingredient and food component (i.e. grain) industries, spanning the entire food supply chain and is also a leader in USDA Organic certification.

As consumers increasingly demand to know what is in the foods and products they buy, our suite of testing and verification services helps meet this demand.

CP: As more hemp products hit the market, what do you hope happens?

MW: We want consumers to know what they are buying. By listing ingredients, as well as other important information such as exact milligrams of CBD that are in a product, consumers will know they can trust products that bear the U.S. Hemp Authority seal. 

As the market for hemp-derived products undergoes rapid growth, it is critically important for us to signal to the world that we intend to act responsibly. Quality assurance and safety must come first, and that’s why we set off on this journey. Creating these standards was a long journey, but after thousands of pages of public and stakeholder input and countless hours of hard work, we are thrilled to promote this designation.

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