A1039 Low THC Foods – The FSANZ forum of Food Ministers voted no to the application on 30 Jan 2015.
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. http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/foodsecretariat-communiqu%C3%A9s-15_30Jan
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”
TV One covered this event, and spent 4 hours on Friday interviewing Penny Young (Moumoukai Hemp) the Secretary of the NZHIA.
Penny gave them a number of sound bites on the uses of hemp seed, the health benefits, the beneficial impact on the economy (Initial demand of $30Million) and potential opportunity for rural communities to grow the seed, unfortunately they were not used in the TV news clip.
The news article only included the briefest of mentions of the Omega 3,6,9 profile of hemp seed and disappointingly found time in their two minute item to show a man smoking a joint, which has no relevance to this issue at all.
The TV One article “Overwhelming support for legalising hemp food sales” and the TV One news clip can be found at http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/overwhelming-support-legalising-hemp-food-sales-6225957