In a recent article for Food Navigator - Asia CEO of Hemp Foods Australia and pioneer in the industry laid out his hopes for an expansive future for hemp sales in Australia.
It was two years ago that the Australian government last voted against hemp for human consumption in the region. For now, hemp products remain on pet store shelves and in topical beauty products. However, dreams of legal edible hemp are alive and well with Paul Benhaim, CEO of Hemp Foods Australia. In that fated meeting the committee fought over the unnecessary idea of how ingesting hemp would skew roadside police tests.
The problem with this idea is that hemp has absolutely no psychoactive effects, meaning that it will not get anyone high. Benhaim even pointed out at those meetings that hemp as a food had been legalized in other countries with little to no effect on police roadside testing, but it was still denied. Come April, The Council of Australian Governments (CoAG) will discuss the issue once more but this time with much more research behind the plant. With all of the evidence that hemp foods do nothing but provide nutrition to the country’s residents in Europe, America, Japan and many other places.
Despite much evidence, Benhaim has noted that police are still citing hemp as a problem with roadside testing, however we can eat fields of hemp without coming into contact with THC, the cannabinoid in the plant that delivers the ‘high’ effects. Despite the negative ruling two years ago Hemp Foods Australia currently thrives on an export industry, a mark of a thriving industry that they hope to bring to Australia. It can easily be used in healthy restaurants and products since hemp seeds, powder, and oil have an exceptional amount of protein, fatty acids, and more.
Benhaim believes that the Australian hemp industry could grow into the “three figure millions”. Local chefs have been approaching the executive for hemp seeds so that they can formulate recipes in case the plant is legalized. He is also prepared to market their products in local health food shops, supplement stores, petrol stations, and gyms. These leads paired with the fact that many food manufacturers are already using machinery that can easily be used to process hemp; Benhaim might not be too far off with his estimates.
The root of success for hemp legalization is education and Benhaim works hard to educate local farmers, police, and ministers that hemp is not the same as cannabis found in hippy films. Australia can benefit from growing industrial hemp more than just economically, it is also the most ecological option. A crop of hemp enriches the topsoil and removes an immense amount of carbon dioxide from the air. A handful of start-up companies and imported products that are rebranded exist now, but Paul Benhaim and the hemp advocates in Australia hope that one day it becomes a regular ingredient in a healthy meal and a regular crop in rotation at Australian farms.
By RJ Whitehead , 23-Jan-2017
Currently consigned to pet food aisles, or products branded “for external use only”, hemp may soon be sold as a food in Australia, which in turn is on the cusp of a chia-style healthy-food revolution.