An EU-based food production company.
The client identified a potential contamination risk in certain of their (non-cannabinoid) food products. Low levels of (-)-trans-Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) – the main psychoactive component of cannabis – were analytically determined in several foodstuffs, from a specific production line.
Bibra toxicologists were asked to provide an expert opinion on the potential human health risks to consumers following ingestion of low levels of Δ9-THC in certain food products (including confectionary).
Approach and outcome
Bibra conducted a wide-ranging search for substance-specific toxicity data on Δ9-THC (including in our in-house toxicity database TRACE). The potentially relevant data was collected and assessed, with focus on oral data and the reviews and opinions of expert groups. The key data derived from these reports, along with specifications given by the client, were then used to determine potential worst-case exposure scenarios (i.e. oral Δ9-THC doses) and to characterise potential human health risks.
Bibra provided the client with a risk assessment of Δ9-THC in consideration of its occurrence as a low-level impurity in the client’s food products. Key to the assessment was identification of an existing health-based guidance value (HBGV) derived by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) that allowed for a confident quantitative risk assessment to be undertaken. Generally, the toxicological risks of Δ9-THC exposure to the consumers were considered tolerable. However, there were a few exposure scenarios (involving theoretically high exposures of adolescents) which required further investigation. Bibra was able to help focus this further work.