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Australia approves hemp as food

hemp seeds2Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ)’s approved low-THC hemp seed products as food in the country.

They developed a food regulatory measure to permit 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, said the demand for Australian hemp foods will quadruple in the next few years. He said hemp farmers are encouraged about the prospective 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,” said Benhaim. “It will also contribute significantly toward more sustainable farming in Australia, with the added bonus of creating considerable job opportunities for the country’s farming industry.”

The international market for hemp foods is currently estimated at $1 billion annually. Approval of the plant will pave the way for Aussies 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 the country 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 is a key step toward encouraging Ministers to approve of the plant for human consumption, with a decision due to go before the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation on Friday, 28 April 2017, when the next Council of Australian Governments meeting is scheduled to take place.

Hemp Foods Australia said there is a possibility for Ministers to grant legalisation next month, which will see hemp foods becoming legal to purchase nationally from November 2017.

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