Sunday, April 30, 2017
Approval of hemp seed consumption “great news for farmers and consumers”
By Alice Burnet
The Greens welcome the decision to allow the sale of hemp food for human consumption, which was made today by the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation at a Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting.
“The Greens have campaigned for this rule change for many years as a key to making hemp cultivation viable for Australian farmers and providing consumers with a good source of nutrition,” NSW Greens agriculture spokesperson and Bellingen resident, Jeremy Buckingham said:
“A year and a half ago I admitted in parliament that I occasionally eat hemp seeds on my breakfast cereal – effectively breaking the law. It is pleasing to see this silly law has been dropped and Australia has joined with the rest of the world in accepting hemp food consumption.
“This is a big win for farmers, consumers, and the Greens. Finally COAG has stopped dragging its feet, got beyond the stigma, and recognised hemp as a crop and food product with enormous potential.
“Allowing farmers to sell both the seed and the fibre will make hemp a viable crop for farmers to grow and potentially create a new export market for Australia.
“The Greens look forward to working with the government to pass any required legislation to implement this decision.”
Australian Ministers, the New Zealand Minister responsible for food safety and the Australian Local Government Association met in Adelaide today (April 28) and agreed the priority areas for the food regulation system for both countries for 2017 – 2021.
The meeting was chaired by the Australian Government Assistant Minister for Health, Dr David Gillespie.
The Australian and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation is responsible for maintaining a strong food regulation system that is based on scientific evidence and expertise and is focused on protecting the health and safety of consumers.
At the meeting today Ministers discussed a range of food regulation issues, including finalising their investigation into low-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) hemp seeds as a food.
They also discussed the latest updates on food labelling of sugar and fats and oils and released the two year progress review report on the implementation of the Health Star Rating system.
Outcomes from the meeting included the decision that low-THC Hemp seeds is a food.
Ministers received a report by the Swinburne University of Technology regarding consumption of low THC foods and the effect on random drug testing protocols in Australia and New Zealand (the Consumption Report).
Ministers had requested that the Food Regulation Standing Committee (FRSC) investigate information gaps identified in considering the adoption of low-THC hemp seeds as a food. These covered marketing and labelling issues, legal and Treaty implications, maximum levels of cannabidiol(CBD) and the potential effects on road side drug testing.
Ministers noted the key finding of the Consumption Report is that it is highly unlikely that consumption of food products containing the levels of THC tested would result in any positive tests on oral fluid, blood or urine.
In light of these findings Ministers supported the draft standard that will allow low-THC hemp seeds to be sold as a food. The standard will take effect six months after it has been gazetted and Ministers acknowledged that there is still a range of New Zealand and State and Territory legislation that currently prohibits the sale of low-THC hemp seeds as a food which will need to be amended. Ministers also supported the establishment of an Implementation and Monitoring working group.