Regulation changes allow hemp seed to be sold as food

Hemp seed can be treated as an edible seed under regulatory changes which come into force on November 12.

Announcing this today, Food Safety Minister Damien O’Connor hailed the changes as great news for the local hemp industry, which has argued for decades that the production of hemp seed foods will stimulate regional economies, create jobs and generate $10-20 million of export revenue within 3 to 5 years.

Hemp is currently grown under permit and is used for fibre and hemp seed oil.

“Hulled, non-viable seeds and their products will be now be viewed as just another edible seed,” Mr O’Connor said.

Growing, possession and trade of whole seeds will still require a licence from the Ministry of Health.

The Minister said hemp seeds are safe to eat, nutritious and do not have a psychoactive effect, .

The Misuse of Drugs (Industrial Hemp) Regulations 2006 and the Food Regulations 2015 will be amended to allow the sale of hemp seed as food.

Hemp flowers and leaves will not be permitted.

“We will continue to ease pathways for our farmers and growers to produce the finest food and fibre for the world’s most discerning customers,” Mr O’Connor said.

More information is attached as a Q&A and from the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Ministry of Health.

Source:  Minister of Agriculture

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