Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ)’s decision earlier this year to permit the sale of low-THC hemp seed products as a food, has been welcomed by Australia’s largest grower of hemp, Hemp Foods Australia.
Earlier this year, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) prepared and assessed a proposal to develop a food regulatory measure to permit the sale of food derived from the seeds of low delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol varieties of Cannabis sativa.
The international market for hemp foods is currently estimated at $1 billion annually, and Hemp Foods Australia founder and CEO, Paul Benhaim, says the demand for Australian hemp foods will quadruple in the next few years.
Benhaim said Australian hemp farmers are encouraged about the legalisation of the crop as a food and its separation from marijuana.
“This is another positive step in the years long work and investment in achieving legalisation for omega-3 rich hemp as a food in Australia.
“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.”
Approval of the plant will pave the way for Australians to reap the health, economic and environmental benefits of a healthy local hemp food industry, with legalisation of the crop a key step towards more sustainable farming in Australia too. In addition to this, as a food, hemp is a highly nutritious source of plant-based protein and can be used as food ingredients like flour, oil and protein powder.
The decision by FSANZ was a key step toward encouraging Ministers to approve of the plant for human consumption, with the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation granting legalisation on 28 April 2017, which will see hemp foods become legal to purchase nationally from November 2017.
This article was originally featured on our sister show Fine Food Australia – the leading trade event for the foodservice and hospitality industry.