In Australia and New Zealand, HEMP seed has once again been recommended for sale as food, with farmers hopeful that the government will allow human consumption by the end of next month.
Australia's biggest hemp grower, Hemp Foods Australia, welcomed today's decision by Food Standards Australia and New Zealand to allow the selling of low-and non-THC hemp seed products as a food, the fourth time it has provided the green light since 2002.
A call was given to Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce to provide funding for the crop.
A proposal to create a food regulatory measure to enable the selling of food made from seeds of the low delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol varieties of Cannabis sativa was prepared and evaluated by Food Standards.
Hemp fiber crops were legalized in NSW in 2008 and were praised for versatility, water quality, and future efficiency, not to be confused with its psychoactive cousin marijuana.
However, the lack of legal approval for hemp seeds as food prevents the industry from gaining acceptance as a mainstream broadcast crop, the producers claim.
The crop has been endorsed by NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair and Opposition spokesman Mick Veitch.
In 2015, Mr. Blair said, "I think we should look at the potential of a whole range of crops and markets for NSW."
Jeremy Buckingham, NSW Greens MP, told a hearing on NSW budget projections, he illegally ate hemp seeds for breakfast to demonstrate the industry's potential benefit.
He said the Federal Minister of Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, would now "step up or step down."
Mr. Buckingham said today, "There should be no more excuses for holding back our farmers from entering this billion-dollar global industry."
Barnaby Joyce's gotta step up or step down. He's the Deputy prime minister. He's expected to knock the heads together to ensure that it becomes law at last.
A decision is due from the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation on April 28, when the next Council of Australian Governments meeting is scheduled.
The government has knocked back FSANZ's recommendation on hemp three times in the past 15 years.
"(But) I'm very sure that this time it will be very different," said Mr. Benhaim.
"I haven't seen the (independent drug detection test) results, but I have been given the nod and a wink that the results (for the industry) are positive."
Hemp seeds contain vitamin E, phosphorus, thiamine, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc, which can be legally eaten overseas. It can be made into rice, protein powder, oil, or an alternative to soy milk and used in baking or stir-fries, including poppy seeds.
FITZGIBBON CHANGING HEMP' S NAME COULD Raise APPROVAL:
Joel Fitzgibbon, the spokesman for Federal Opposition Ag, said a name change for hemp products could avoid the crop being falsely related to marijuana.
Hemp posed a burgeoning potential for domestic and export markets but could benefit from a tweak in its branding, the Hunter Labor MP said.
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