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Hemp seeds to be legalised as food
Posted at 10:41am Saturday 29 Apr, 2017
Hemp seed will soon be legalised as food after the New Zealand and Australian food safety authorities reached an agreement on Friday.
During the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation in Adelaide, Kiwi and Aussie ministers approved a standard to allow safe levels of low-THC hemp seed as a food.
“I stated my support at the Forum and was pleased a change to the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code was approved,” says Food Safety Minister David Bennett.
“Hemp has no psychoactive effect and has historically been used as a source of fibre and oil because it contains proteins, vitamins, minerals and fatty-acids.”
Low THC-hemp seed is also nutritious, safe to eat and will add to the New Zealand economy, he says.
“Hemp seeds have a growing global market currently worth around $1 billion. It is estimated it will initially generate between $10 million and $20 million in export revenue and create about 20 jobs.
“These seeds do not require either fertiliser or irrigation. Because of the low inputs, research has put the farm gate revenue for hemp seed between $4000 and $5000 per hectare.
David says the growth of the seeds will also lead to job creation in New Zealand from processing the seed crop into oil, flour, protein and hulled hemp seeds.
“This is an exciting new industry for New Zealand.”
Before the standard can take effect in New Zealand changes to regulations under the Food Act, Misuse of Drugs Act, and Medicines Act will need to be made.
A cross-agency working group led by the Ministry for Primary Industries will be formed with relevant agencies to work through the process of amending relevant legislation including consultation.
This process may take up to 18 months.
Hemp seed oil is already able to be sold in New Zealand and this permission is set to continue during the implementation period.