Hemp seed can now be sold as food

  • Hon Damien O’Connor
Agriculture Food Safety

Regional economies are the biggest winners of rule changes that allow hemp seed to be treated as just another edible seed, Food Safety Minister Damien O’Connor announced today.

“This is 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,” Damien O’Connor said.

“Diversification is key to the health of a regional economy and the Government is committed to work with our primary sectors to get more value from what they do.

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

“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,” Damien O’Connor said.

Regulatory changes come into force on 12 November. More information is attached as a Q&A and from MPI and MOH.