Hemp foods for human consumption has been an issue since 1998, when application “A360 – Hemp as a Novel Food” was first submitted to the Australia New Zealand Food Safety Ministers.
In 2000 New Zealand food policy was taken over by a joint approach with Australia, they get 8 votes as states and territories plus one for the federal government, so they get 9 votes and New Zealand gets one vote.
A360 was submitted by Phil Warner at Eco Fibre, after four years of stakeholder consultation it was first voted (or ignored) in December 2002 when it was unanimously rejected, it was reconsidered in 2005 but this also resulted in a no vote.
Another application “A1039 Low THC hemp seed foods” was received by Food Safety Australia and New Zealand in December 2009, another 4 years of stakeholder consultation followed and this application was finally rejected in Jan 2015.
The officials working at the food ministries in Australia and New Zealand have produced some excellent documents and have always recommended to the Food Ministers that the food is safe and should be allowed for human consumption.
However the Food minsters continue to vote no, recently our Food Minister Hon Jo Goodhew has become supportive of access to hemp Foods, and has instructed the ministry to overcome the four issues which are of concern
These four issues have been brought up in every official communique, since the first no vote in 2002
The main problems are the Victorian state police preoccupation with road side swab testing for driving while under the influences of cannabis. These swab tests are banned in New Zealand as they are not reliable. Either way there is no way that minute traces of thc in hemp foods would trigger a positive reading.
The other main issue is “sending mixed messages to the youth on the Safety of cannabis” this relates to labeling as they don’t want to see the leaf being used to advise hemp foods.
This energy drink has been sold in New Zealand for around 10 years, with a huge leaf on it, it contains no hemp and is simply trading on the image of the leaf, in this time Food Safety nor Medicines Control have stopped the sale of this drink which used to be found in nearly every corner dairy in the country.
Worldwide food manufactures have not used the leaf as they do want the stigma of the marijuana leaf to put off there customers.
Despite the ban on hemp seed as a human food, the magic of labeling has allowed hulled hemp seed, (the heart/meal in the seed) to be sold in Australia and New Zealand as an animal food.