FSANZ approves use of hemp products as food

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FSANZ approves use of hemp products as food FSANZ approves use of hemp products as food

Low-THC hemp seed products will be able to be sold as food after a decision made today by Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ).

FSANZ made the decision following the preparation and assessment of a proposal to develop a food regulatory measure that would allow the sale of food derived from the seeds of low delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol varieties of Cannabis sativa.

Hemp Foods Australia founder and CEO Paul Benhaim has welcomed the decision and says that Australian hemp foods will quadruple in demand over the coming years.

According to Benhaim, Australian hemp farmers should be encouraged about the potential legalisation of the crop as a food and its separation from marijuana.

"This is another positive step in the year’s long work and investment in achieving legalisation for omega-3 rich hemp as a food in Australia," Benhaim says.

"It will also contribute significantly toward more sustainable farming in Australia, with the added bonus of creating considerable job opportunities for Australia’s farming industry."

FSANZ says that historically, hemp has been used as a source of fibre and oil and that the seeds and oil are used in other countries – including in Europe, Canada and the US – in a range of foods.

"Hemp seeds contain protein, vitamins, minerals and polyunsaturated fatty acids, particularly omega-3 fatty acids," it says.

"Cannabis extracts have also been used in medicine for a variety of ailments," the body adds. "However, hemp does not have therapeutic effects because it has low levels of cannabidiol, the active component of cannabis extracts used for medicinal purposes.

"Hemp is different to other varieties of C. sativa which are commonly referred to as marijuana as it contains no, or very low levels of, THC (delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the cannabinoid associated with the psychoactive properties of marijuana."

Hemp is currently cultivated in Australia and New Zealand under strict licensing arrangements and used as a source of fibre for clothing and building products.

On April 28, at the next Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting, the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation will make a decision as to whether the plant should be approved for human consumption 

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