Food Standard Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) has given its approval of hemp products to be sold as food.
The bi-national government agency which administers the Food Standards Code has approved the sale of foods derived from low (and no) THC hemp — the psychoactive component of cannabis.
With the exception of hemp seed oil the sale of hemp-based foods is currently illegal in Australia, but the legislation is being ignored or side-stepped extensively.
It is not the first time FSANZ has approved hemp products as food and the agency's principal advisor for product safety standards, Dr Leigh Henderson says the regulator has carefully considered its ruling on hemp-derived foods. Its latest ruling includes strict conditions around the addition of cannabidiol, the medicinal component of cannabis, to ensure it is not added into food products.
However, before hemp products can be sold as food in Australia, it will need the approval of state and territory governments, which could be given at a meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in April.
The Tasmanian government has welcomed FSANZ's latest recommendation and said it would strongly advocate for approving hemp food products at the next Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation.
It has already provided the necessary State approvals through the Industrial Hemp Act and has streamlined licencing and regulatory processes, making it easier for Tasmanian farmers to apply to grow industrial hemp.
(From ABC Rural - 24 March 2017)