Risk assessment of a low-level cannabinoid contaminant in food products


A food production company.


The client identified a potential contamination risk in certain of their food products. Low levels of (-)-trans-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) – the main psychoactive component of cannabis – were analytically determined.

Project goals

Bibra toxicologists were asked to provide an opinion on the potential health risks of human exposure following ingestion of low levels of Δ9-THC in the client’s products.


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 subsequently collected and assessed, with focus on oral data and expert group reviews. The key data derived from these reports, along with specifications given by the client, were then used to determine potential worst-case exposure scenarios and to characterise potential human health risks.

Project outcome

Bibra provided the client with a preliminary 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 EFSA that allowed for a confident quantitative risk assessment to be undertaken. Generally the toxicological risks to the consumer were considered tolerable. However, there were a few exposure scenarios which required further investigation.

Bibra project team

Richard Young
Chris Waine


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