Hemp Food in Australia and New Zealand. Not!

Boy, this crazy world of ours is sometimes difficult to understand. To my astonishment, I recently learnt that foodstuffs made from hemp seed and oil are illegal in Australia and New Zealand. This is despite the recommendation, a few years back, by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) that the prohibition be removed. But state ministers and government heads rejected the proposal, determining in their wisdom, that "there were law enforcement issues, particularly from a policing perspective, where it was perceived that there would be difficulties in distinguishing between high THC and low THC products. The Ministers of FSC also believed that the use of industrial hemp in food may send a confused message to consumers about the acceptability and safety of C[annabis]. sativa." Which is all kinda odd, because the Department of Primary Industry, in the state of Queensland, on their website have this to say: "Despite the restriction in Australia, ...... about half of the world market for oil extracted from industrial hemp seed is currently used for human food and food supplements (de Guzman 2001). In North America, many of the products from the seed are incorporated into food preparations such as snack bars, bread, pretzels, biscuits, yoghurts, pancakes, porridge, ice cream, pasta, pizza, salad dressings, mayonnaise and beverages". Yeh, in the US you can eat the stuff, but you can't grow it. In Australia you can grow it, but not eat it. And apparently for the same reasons.

For years now, Australia has been growing industrial hemp in government sanctioned trials as a crop with potential use in paper, textiles, and cosmetics. Hence my confusion on only now just discovering that food has not been part of that package.

However, the FSANZ have met within the past few days, and hemp food is again on the conference menu for discussion. Hopefully, in their deliberations, they were encouraged to consider the benefits in zero THC foods. Such as organically grown hempnut, like that pictured here, and offered by Rawganique. who report that while containing no psychoactive substances, the hempnuts "combine the best qualities of pine nuts and cashews at a fraction of the price." As well as being very high in Omega-3 and 6 linolenic acid, which has been getting wide press coverage for its significant nutritional value. Began this post after a small piece on ::ABC Radio.

PS. Seems Europe's Liechtenstein did not want American and Australian politicians to be alone in drafting odd laws. For a chuckle read this story about alpine cows and hemp.

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