11 Dec 2012

No decision on hemp for food

5:01 pm on 11 December 2012

New Zealand's Food Safety Minister, Kate Wilkinson, and her Australian counterparts are asking police for advice on whether hemp products should be allowed to be consumed as food.

The ministers met in Brisbane last week and considered a recommendation by the trans-Tasman statutory body Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) that hemp should be approved as a food.

All hemp food products are banned in Australia, while in New Zealand only hemp seed oil has been approved for consumption.

Hemp producers were hoping the ministers would approve the wider use of products such as seed and oil in food, but instead they decided to seek further advice.

Police in Australia have already raised their concerns that the consumption of hemp could potentially be used as a legal defence by drivers who fail roadside drug tests.

Industrial hemp has low levels of the active ingredient THC, found in cannabis.