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In the Fall of 2022, I met with the FPSA Pet Foods Council for the first discussion about the production line we would develop for Process Expo 2023, and ultimately what product this line would produce and package. We would soon narrow in on a line to produce pet treats in the form of a stick, a very common product like the ones I give my dogs every day. With my neurotic dogs in mind, I made one suggestion to this product. What if we were to produce a treat with CBD?

I didn’t propose this just because these products have been incredibly effective in calming my dogs. No, actually I suggested this based on the ever-growing shelf space for these products at my local Pet Smart. I’ve been giving these treats to my dogs for 3-4 years now and I’m amazed at the number of SKU’s now being offered. These products and brands offer something for a wide range of issues including calming support, allergies, hip and joint support, skin health, and senior mobility, to name a few.

Based on this growing presence on the shelf, I assumed these treats were selling well. I was right. According to Grand View Research, the global CBD pet market size was estimated at USD 195.98 million in 2022 and is expected to grow at a lucrative compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 31.8% from 2023 to 2030. I’d say that is selling well, or at least was.

Who knows what will happen with this market now that the FDA issued its January 26 statement FDA Concludes that Existing Regulatory Frameworks for Foods and Supplements are Not Appropriate for Cannabidiol, Will Work with Congress on a New Way Forward.

Included in this statement were the following comments:

“… the FDA has concluded that a new regulatory pathway for CBD is needed that balances individuals’ desire for access to CBD products with the regulatory oversight needed to manage risks.” 

and …

“The use of CBD raises various safety concerns, especially with long-term use. Studies have shown the potential for harm to the liver, interactions with certain medications and possible harm to the male reproductive system. CBD exposure is also concerning when it comes to certain vulnerable populations such as children and those who are pregnant.”

And finally …

“CBD also poses risks to animals, and people could be unknowingly exposed to CBD through meat, milk and eggs from animals fed CBD. Because it is not apparent how CBD products could meet the safety standard for substances in animal food, we also do not intend to pursue rulemaking allowing the use of CBD in animal food. A new regulatory pathway could provide access and oversight for certain CBD-containing products for animals. “ 

Wow. I’m wondering how much longer I’ll be able to buy those treats. Do I need to stock up immediately? Not that I work at the FDA or really have any knowledge of what goes on there, but I’m surprised that a product could get this far down the line, with how many millions invested in bringing it to market, and now the FDA steps up to say, “hold on”.

Oh well. I guess our production line will have to do without the CBD component. That’s ok. As long as I can score some product for my crazy dogs!

Andy Drennan, FPSA SVP