Want to help make a real difference? Please sign our Change.org campaign page to allow non-drug hemp foods in Australia and New Zealand.
Industrial hemp is a legal crop and is grown around the world. The history of hemp is varied and long, suffice to say hemp, hempseed and other by-products have withstood a myriad of global changes.
Hempseeds have been eaten for 8000 years in China and there is history of hemp being eaten in India and Europe since history books began.
It was only in 1937 that Mr DuPont and his friends made some excellent media campaigns against ‘cannabis’ being an evil drug. Whether the drug form of cannabis is legal or not is besides the point as the legislation that came from this media campaign made the growing of industrial hemp, after hundreds of generations, illegal. Most countries followed suit.
Most countries legislation is about growing cannabis sativa which is the latin name for hemp. In the last couple of decades renewed interest in sustainable alternatives have allowed hemp to be grown again, under strict government license and conditions. These conditions include growing only varieties that contain negligible amounts of the drug ‘THC’. Nearly all the products of the hemp plant are now legal in most countries, with Australian being the last country in the world to allow hemp as a food. In the USA you may consume hemp foods, but you cannot grow industrial hemp commercially. That is one nice law for their neighbour, Canada who have made big business from this anomaly.
Despite our best efforts – we put an application for legal hemp foods in 2000 when after 4 years, the longest ANZFA (then FSANZ) application for any food was returned to us – with glowing results! The Australian public WOULD benefit from hemp seed and hemp foods.
What progressed from there may only be described as a debacle. It took us many months to learn from a Minister who requested to be kept anonymous that the then Prime Minister, John Howard hand-wrote a note to all Ministers saying ‘Hemp – no way’. Who would go against their boss? Hemp foods were illegal still. Now a similar situation with our current PM and the COAG committee continues today. Read on.
UPDATE DECEMBER 7th 2012
The COAG committee apparently has decided that FSANZ recommendations, study and report spanning 10 years of research from all over the world is not good enough. In fact, the Ministers have sought a review on the proposed standard for low THC hemp as a food. Ministers have agreed to seek advice from the Standing Council on Police and Emergency Services. Why not let them know how you feel.
UPDATE October 31st 2012: FSANZ (Food Standards Australia New Zealand) approves the draft proposal to allow low THC hemp as a food on 31st October 2012. It is now up to The Forum to reject or accept or request amendment within the next 60 days!
Yes, Australia and NZ are amongst the only countries in the world that do not recognise hemp seed as a food! See FSANZ chart here.
Current Australia and New Zealand (by state) hemp regulations are shown here.
Hempseed contains protein and many vitamins and minerals like many nuts and seeds but is
much higher in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids except for flaxseed. The protein quality
of hempseed is slightly lower than the quality proteins of egg and soybean. Removing the
prohibition on the use of low THC hemp in food products may provide a useful alternative
dietary source of many nutrients and polyunsaturated fatty acids, particularly omega-3 fatty
acids. Only small quantities of whole hempseed or hempseed oil need be consumed to meet
the adult Adequate Intake for alpha-linoleic acid.
And from FSANZ Risk Assessment:
vitamins and minerals, similar to the nutritional profile of many nuts and seeds. Hempseed
and hempseed oil are also potential dietary sources of polyunsaturated fatty acids,
particularly omega-3 fatty acids. Only a small quantity of whole hempseed or hempseed oil
needs to be consumed to meet the adult Adequate Intake for alpha-linolenic acid
Previously FSANZ announced that public comment for application A1039 – low THC hemp as a food - whilst they delay their final decision until June 2012. Have a look at that post and see my response to what seems the most out-dated comments from another Government department. Let FSANZ know directly how you feel by writing to them at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Submissions were open from Wednesday, 7 December 2011 until 6pm (Canberra time) 1 February 2012. A final decision is now not expected by end of 2012
January 2013 updates:
Please find below a link to the Food Regulation Secretariat website where you can find the Notice of Publication of a request for a review by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) of Application A1039 – Low THC Hemp as a Food, as agreed by the Legislative and Governance Forum on Food Regulation (convening as the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council) at its meeting on 7 December 2012.
See Paul Benhaim's response to one Government agency against the use of hemp as a food at thishemp blog post.
Meanwhile de-hulled hemp seed and hemp seed oil is allowed for non-human consumption. Uses, including free recipes for hemp seeds, hemp oil and hemp protein for skincare are listed here. Hemp seeds, hemp oil and hemp protein are also used in hemp for animals including cats, dogs, horses, laying hens and even cattle. You may purchase food quality de-hulled hemp seed, hemp protein and hemp oil TODAY. You may also learn all about the nutritional quality of hemp seeds, hemp oil and hemp protein used in various hemp foods to get an idea of what is to come with some free hemp seed recipe. Have fun with hemp seeds and remember – do what you know is right – is that not the Australian thing to do?
HAVE YOUR SAY IN THE MOST IMPORTANT PETITION TO ALLOW NON-DRUG HEMP FOODS IN AUSTRALIA:
We continue to work with all the Government bodies we can to ensure a fair and just decision is made in December. They need to know YOU care also – so please share the above petition.
Political Lobbyists starting their work…