Still no approval of superfood hemp

HEMP foods can be consumed legally in many parts of the world, but not in Australia.

Now a decision by Food Standards Australia New Zealand about whether low THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) hemp should be legalised as food has been delayed again.

Tetrahydrocannabinol is the active ingredient which creates the high that results from using marijuana.

A decision about whether the code would be changed to allow hemp to be approved as a food had been expected early this year after Dr Andrew Katelaris lodged an application in 2009.

He has since had been advised Food Standards had delayed its decision until after July so it could consider issues related to the potential cost impact on food and law enforcement agencies.

One of the concerns related to saliva testing used by police to test for THC.

Mullumbimby based editor of Hemp Lifestyle Magazine Dr Dionne Payn said the issue of hemp as a food was a "political hot potato" which nobody wanted to deal with.

Dr Payn said it was not known whether the police saliva test would detect low level THC hemp.

However, she said the saliva test was only a screen and to get a true positive police were required to undertake blood tests which would not pick up THC from hemp.

The delays were holding back the Australian hemp industry which needed both fibre and food production in order to be viable, she said.

Hemp production for fibre was approved in 2008.

Hemp produced seeds that were classed as a superfood. Their consumption was legal in Europe, the US and Canada.

"As a food source it is a highly digestible form of protein. It has omega 3 and omega 6 in the right balance," she said.




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