As of January 1, 2020, Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) requires wholesale and retail CBD establishments that manufacture, process, pack, hold, prepare or sell food that contains hemp extract for human consumption to have a food establishment permit from the FDACS Division of Food Safety to operate in the state of Florida.
The Division of Food Safety currently requires a permit for the manufacturing, selling, and distributing of food that does not contain hemp extract. A business that already holds a permit and decides to begin manufacturing, selling, and distributing hemp extract meant for human consumption will not require to purchase a second permit. However, businesses should advise the Division of Food Safety if they decide to change their status to include manufacturing, selling, and distributing hemp extract, as other divisions of Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services or other state agencies may require their own permits.
- Hemp: any part of the Cannabis Sativa L. plant, including seeds and a total delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of <0.3% (dry-weight).
- Hemp Extract: a substance or compound derived from or that contains hemp, does not contain other controlled substances, and is intended for human consumption.
- A Hemp Food Establishment: an establishment that takes part in manufacturing, processing, packing, holding, preparing, or selling food consisting of or containing hemp extract for wholesale or retail. To operate in Florida, the establishment must have a food permit, of which a single permit with the Division of Food Safety will suffice.
1. When do I need to inform FDACS that I’m selling hemp products?
Food permits are purchased annually. At the time you apply for your permit, you will be asked if you are selling or intend on selling hemp products for consumption. If so, you are required to report “yes” on your renewal form so that your business can be classified as a “Hemp Food Establishment.”
If you begin manufacturing, selling, and/or distributing hemp products after purchasing a food permit, you will need to call the business center at 850-245-5520 or go to FDACS.gov to update your permit.
2. Will my food permit fee increase if I sell hemp extract products?
An annual Hemp Food Establishment permit fee is $650. If you currently pay less than this amount, your food permit fee will increase to a total of $650.
3. Do I need a permit if I only sell hemp extract products online and don’t store any on my premises?
The short answer is yes. However, those selling hemp extract online must satisfy certain Florida laws, including labeling requirements, state testing, and “approved source” requirements that state that online products must be manufactured in a facility that meets the requirements of a food safety inspection program.
4. What happens if I don’t purchase a permit?
Under Florida law, a food permit must be purchased by an establishment that manufactures, processes, packs, holds, prepares, or sells food that contains hemp extract for human consumption. The following protocol applies for an establishment that fails to comply with this law:
First offense: the business receives written notice that it must purchase a permit
Second offense: the business is fined $10,000
Third offense: the business is barred from selling CBD
Applying for a food permit
There are several ways a business can apply for a food permit:
- Submit an online application with FDACS
- Mail or fax your hard copy application to the FDACS business center
Your business also needs to satisfy the necessary Minimum Construction Standards (MCS) for your facility’s planned processing and operations. More information about this can be found here: www.fdacs.gov/Divisions-Offices/Food-Safety.