Promoting the Economic, Environmental, Health and Social Benefits of a NZ Hemp Industry

Hemp Foods

Australia and New Zealand are the only countries in the world who have banned hemp seed foods as a class C Drug

Australia and New Zealand are the only countries in the world who have banned hemp seed foods as a class C Drug

CURRENT HOT TOPIC – Hemp Foods – some back ground information

April 2019

Hemp seed food will be legal on 12 November 2018

(links in bold below)

The Government has changed the rules around hemp seed so that it’s treated as just another food – a move which aims to “stimulate regional economies”.

“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”, Food Safety Minister Damien O’Connor said on Tuesday.

He said the move is “great news for the 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”.

More information available at:

April 2018  We are still waiting for the consultation document from MPI – Food

May 2017  Although it is a great win to finally (after 18 years of consultation) have human access to hemp seed, The NZHIA feel it was an opportunity missed as we can not work with and develop high value nutritional products from the rest of the plant, in particular the leaf and flowering tops.   See The NZHIA Press release 1 May 2017  for more information.

For a full copy of the variation to the food code and further information on the FSANZ Website

April 2017 is the next physical meeting of the Food ministers –  will hemp foods be ok for human consumption?

After rejecting application A1039 Low THC hemp foods in Jan 2015, the food ministers requested FSANZ (Food Safety Australia New Zealand) to come up with a proposal to allow hemp foods to be made available for human consumption.

FSANZ have come up with a half measure, they raised proposal P1042 Hemp Seed foods on 8 July 2016, they missed voting on this at their November 2016 meeting and deffered it to the next meeting, scheduled for 22 April 2017

After an 18 year wait, since the first application was submitted in December 1998, it is disapointing that they have missed an opportunity to allow foods from all parts of the plant, preferring to limit their proposal to just hemp seed, which is a start, but means it needs to be revisited again in the future

The NZHIA feel the proposal does not go far enough and allowing other parts of the plant to be used as food and supplements would be of benefit to consumers and the iHemp industry.

Food update September 2016

Submissions on the FSANZ proposal P 1042 closed on 25th August 2016, the feedback will now be considered by the FSANZ officials and a final variation will be proposed to their board in October 2016

We hope that an approved variation will be voted on at the next physical meeting of the Food Ministers in November 2016 , there are 10 votes, 1 form NZ and 9 From Australia – Federal, state and territories.

The proposed variation did not go far enough as it only included hemp seeds and did not recognize all the food and supplements available from industrial hemp.

If the proposal is presented to the food ministers we hope it will include a review date, so we can have the opportunity to catch up with the rest of the world.

| | Edit


Despite their own FSANZ official recommendation to accept the variation to the food standard, the Forum of Food and Health Minsters have voted “NO” to A1039.  They could only decide to accept, amend or reject the application and in their collective wisdom have voted to “Reject” the variation.

Although our Food Minister, Hon Jo Goodhew has confirmed she voted in favour of the application, there was not enough support from the Australian Ministers to get it through.

The Forum does not have to tell the public how the various Australian States and Territories voted, but we will try and find this information out.  The dissenting Ministers clearly need to increase their awareness of the potential of a hemp industry.

As with previous applications, the same reasons for the rejections were quoted in the official communiqué which came out on the afternoon of Friday 30 January 2015.

The Forum of Ministers acknowledged that hemp foods do not present any safety concerns and that concerns regarding the impact on police THC drug testing fall beyond the remit of FSANZ, yet they still resolved to reject the variation.

“The Forum resolved to reject the proposed variation to Standard 1.4.4 – Prohibited and Restricted Plants and Fungi, resulting from Application A1039. The Forum noted that FSANZ found that foods derived from the seeds of low THC hemp do not present any safety concerns as food, and that concerns regarding the impact on police THC drug testing fall beyond the remit of FSANZ. Several concerns were raised by some Forum Members, including law enforcement issues, particularly from a policing perspective in relation to roadside drug testing, cannabidiol levels as well as the marketing of hemp in food may send a confused message to consumers about the acceptability and safety of Cannabis. The Forum agreed that further work would be undertaken promptly to consider law enforcement, roadside drug testing and marketing concerns in consultation with relevant Ministers.”

We have confirmed with the Minster that the application is not completely dead in the water, they have asked their officials to get more information on the concerns expressed and the application will be revisited at the next Forum meeting to be held in July in Hobart.

So the FSANZ and the industry have another chance to educate ministers and provide them with information on labelling and road side drug tests.

In the TV One interview Hon Jo Goodhew, stated one of the concerns as being “some of these products get marketed in a way where you would confuse them with cannabis and so we do want to have a look at that as well, to make sure the rules and regulations in New Zealand and Australia don’t allow that sort of thing to happen”

The FSANZ will vote on A1039 in Auckland on Friday 30 Jan 2015 see our post  – Ministers to Vote on A 1039 on 30 Jan 2015, Auckland 

The NZHIA have written to the ministers and we encourage you to write to them, to help you we have included some example letters and a spread sheet of the Ministers contact details on a post made 17 Jan 2015 see the following link for more information


A 1039 – Application 1039 Low THC Hemp as a Food, this is the latest application to FSANZ (Food Safety Australia and New Zealand)

The application was submitted on 4 December 2009 by Dr Andrew Katelaris.  FSANZ then issued a consultative paper in March 2011, on 7 December 2011 FSANZ sought submissions on a draft standard.  They received 53 submissions.  Based on this consultation  FSANZ approved a draft variation to the food standard on 31 October 2012.  The Forum who will vote on the variation requested a review on 7 December 2012, this  review period has been extended several times and was concluded on 5 December 2014.

On 21 December 2014 the FSANZ reaffirmed its approval of the draft variation,  see page 45 of the attached document A1039 Approval report including variation 08 NOV 12

The Forum now has 60 days to accept, amend or reject the variation.  So a decision should be available before 18 February 2015

Application 1039 follows an original application A360 Hemp as a Novel food, which was unanimously rejected in 2002, it was reconsidered in 2005 but again the majority of Ministers rejected the application, claiming it sent a confusing message to consumers about the acceptability and safety of cannabis.

For some of the original A360 research documents on hemp seed foods please see :Food Stds 2001-2002 report    FINAL Assement A 360 use of Hemp as a Novel Food 12.12.01