KANSAS CITY — Now that PepsiCo, Inc., Purchase, NY, has shown confidence in the hemp category, other food and beverage companies could follow. Concerns over legal issues should be few, provided products do not contain cannabidiol (CBD), but taste will demand attention.

The US Food and Drug Administration does not allow CBD in foods, beverages and dietary supplements since it is in Epidiolex, an FDA-approved drug. Yet hemp without CBD may not be a problem since the FDA in December 2018 said it had “no questions” about the Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) status for three hemp seed-derived food ingredients.

What about flavor?

PepsiCo in February launched Rockstar Unplugged infused with hemp seed oil, spearmint, lemon balm and about 80 mg of caffeine. It comes in three flavors: blueberry, passion fruit and raspberry cucumber.

Flavors and flavor-masking agents may offset unwanted flavors in hemp.

“Hemp oil has a distinctive…

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