The adoption of a hemp seed food standard remains on the horizon, following work requested by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Ministerial Forum earlier this year says Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew.
“New Zealand supports a standard allowing the sale of hemp seed food products, and I am hopeful that the Ministerial Forum will be able to assess the proposed hemp standard again early next year,” says Mrs Goodhew.
“The best available science shows us that hemp seed is safe to eat and has positive nutritional properties. However, the Ministerial Forum had some unanswered questions when it met in January.
“That is why Ministers asked the Food Regulation Standing Committee to carry out work into some aspects of hemp seed food sales where we felt further research is required.”
The Ministry for Primary Industries is leading two of the four areas of work that are currently underway; marketing of hemp food, and the legislative implications for Australia and New Zealand. The other two areas involve research into the impact of low-THC food consumption on roadside drug testing, and investigating the levels of cannabidiol present in all hemp seed food products.
“Providing these assurances to Ministers will take us one step closer to a standard that allows hemp seed food products such as hemp milk, flour and muesli bars to be sold in New Zealand,” says Mrs Goodhew.
“I realise these delays are frustrating for industry, however carrying out this work will ensure the public can have the utmost confidence in the safety of any hemp seed food that may be sold in New Zealand in the future.”
Note: Hemp and marijuana are different varieties of the same plant. Unlike marijuana, hemp seeds do not contain THC (delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the active ingredient that creates a psychoactive effect (high).