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Is CBD allowed in food in Washington?

The laws for CBD in food products is different as you cross the state line from Oregon to Washington.

VANCOUVER, Wash. — The Washington State Department of Agriculture knows many people are confused about CBD in food. Is it allowed or not?

“We recognize there's been some confusion over the last few years as the laws regarding marijuana and hemp have changed,” explained Chris McGann with the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

CBD seems to be everywhere. 

We found it in water, coffees, donuts, pet treats, beer, and sausages. While that is allowed in Oregon. It is not just across the river in Washington.

RELATED: How much CBD is really in that CBD water, donut or beer?

“Outside of the retail marijuana shops, CBD is not allowed as an ingredient in food,” McGann explained.

The recent reminder from the Washington Department of Agriculture led a lot of people to think this was a new change because businesses in Washington were selling CBD food products. However, it turns out it was never allowed. 

“That's always been the case,” McGann said.

Here is why: the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved CBD as a food ingredient.

Therefore, under federal law, you cannot put CBD in food. The FDA said there is very limited information available about CBD and its effects on the body. The FDA is doing research, but for now, there is not enough information to give CBD food items the green light.

Last year, the 2018 farm bill made that more confusing because it removed hemp from the Federal Controlled Substance Act, making a lot of people think CBD in food was OK in Washington.

RELATED: Hemp farming on the rise in Oregon and CBD business continues to grow

The Clark County Health Department in Vancouver, which inspects things like restaurants and bars, said it did find a few places selling CBD infused foods.

“Our food inspectors have come across a few products, that just during routine inspections, they've noticed CBD advertised on the labels, and so what we do in that scenario is take a photo of the product, we send that on to the Washington State Department of Health,” explained Clark County Public Health Food Safety Program Manager Brigette Bashaw.

From there, the business would basically be told to stop selling the item. The health department cannot check every business, so it is really up to them to comply with the law.

“During our routine food inspections, we'll keep an eye out for that and we would treat CBD infused products, the same as we would any other product we might find that looks to have an ingredient that's not generally recognized as safe,” Bashaw said.

California also does not allow CBD as a food ingredient, leaving Oregon as the only west coast state where you can still buy CBD food and drinks at regular shops. So, even though it is federally illegal, Oregon State Law says it is OK.

However, you still might want to consider this. When the FDA tested some CBD products, many did not have the levels of CBD they claimed to contain. KGW also found the same when we tested several local items, including beer, pet treats, and gummies as part of a KGW Call Cristin Investigation. You can watch Cristin’s story here.