In great news for Australia and New Zealand, Ministers for food regulation have now approved the sale of hemp seeds as a food source. The new standards will take effect in six months.
Hemp is grown worldwide, including in Australia and New Zealand (under strict licensing arrangements) and is generally used as a source of fibre for clothing and building products. Hemp seeds have been available for a while and are required by law to be labelled strictly as 'not for human consumption'. Until now the health food and organic sector has sold hemp seeds as a 'supplement' for beauty, health or pet food products.
Why wasn't Hemp approved as a food before now?
Hemp seeds and oil are used in other countries, including Europe, Canada and the United States of America, in a range of foods. Hemp is different to other varieties of Cannabis sativa which are commonly referred to as 'marijuana' as it contains no, or very low levels of THC (delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the compound associated with the psychoactive properties.
Ministers had requested that the Food Regulation Committee and Swinburne University investigate 'information gaps' identified in considering the adoption of low-THC hemp seeds as a food. These covered marketing and labelling issues, legal implications, maximum levels of cannabidiol (CBD) and the potential effects on road side drug testing. Australia and New Zealand are among the last of western countries to approve hemp seeds as a safe food.
What are the benefits of eating Hemp?
Organic hemp seeds contain a variety of valuable nutrients. They contain high quality plant protein (33%) that is naturally gluten free and with a complete amino acid profile. Organic hemp seeds contain the essential fatty acids (EFAs) omega-3 and omega-6 as well as being rich in fibre.
Hemp seeds have a nutty like flavour - somewhat between a sunflower seed and pine nut. Hemp seeds are also ground into a protein powder. We look forward to bringing you great recipes and suggestions for use - coming soon!
Meanwhile discover our range of Hemp Australia products here.