Hobart [AAP & other sources]
A controversial proposal to use industrial hemp in food is high on the agenda of a meeting between Australian and New Zealand government ministers in Hobart on Friday.
The Food Regulation forum will consider a range of matters, including an argument broadly supported by farmers that hemp oilseed is safe for consumption and has no psychoactive effects.
Industrial hemp refers to varieties of cannabis that contain very low levels of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and at the allowable threshold have no drug-inducing effects.
The meeting, chaired by Australian Health Minister Fiona Nash, will also consider reforms to country-of-origin food labelling, and discuss the five-star health rating system gaining popularity in supermarkets.
According to Hemp Foods Australia, based in Bangalow and exporting overseas, previous attempts to have hemp available for human consumption in Australia have failed, including an application in 2002 that Hemp Foods Australia wwas part of.
According to the company, ‘In 2012, FSANZ ((Food Standards Australia and New Zealand) recommended that hemp be approved as a food source.
‘The FSANZ report stated that it was satisfied that low THC Hemp foods are safe for consumption when they contain no more than specified maximum levels of THC.
‘Foods derived from hemp seeds may provide a useful dietary source of many nutrients and polyunsaturated fatty acids, particularly omega-3 fatty acids.