Hemp seeds as food

April 2017

In April 2017 ministers responsible for food regulation considered FSANZ’s approval of a proposal to permit the sale of low-THC hemp seed foods. Ministers did not seek a review of the decision. This means the Food Standards Code has been amended to permit the sale of low THC hemp seed foods. However the changes will not come into effect until 12 November 2017.

Proposal to permit foods derived from hemp


Cannabis seed remains illegal as food in Australia.

Varieties of Cannabis with a low THC level are classified as industrial hemp. Some Australian States have regulations for the cultivation of hemp.

The HEMP Party’s policy to end prohibition would make the hemp industry viable. Currently, growing hemp is similar to growing wheat for the chaff. All Cannabis seeds contain protein, vitamins, minerals and polyunsaturated fatty acids, particularly omega-3 fatty acids.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand

There have been two applications to FSANZ to permit the sale of low THC hemp seeds and hemp seed products as foods. A history of the applications are on the FSANZ website. Roadside drug testing and the classification of THC as food are obstacles to law reform.

NSW Department of Primary Industries‘ website have details on the regulations on cultivation. Search for the DPI in other states for their regulations.


Australia remains the only country to maintain a ban on human consumption of hemp seed foods. The nutritional profile of hemp seed makes it a true super food, rich in protein, high in a dietary balanced ratio of Omega 3,6 and 9, its cold pressed oil is considered equal if not better than fish oil.

Our Food Authorities have always approved hemp foods only to have its decisions rejected by politicians who base their objection on police advice that hemp foods may interfere with roadside drug saliva tests.

Who takes nutritional advice from police? This is another irrational and lose-lose-lose situation for Australia as our dietary projections look to more unhealthy foods being approved, while at the same time Australian farmers are denied access to world wide billion dollar hemp seed food markets.

The real kicker here is that Australian police are alone in their use of saliva tests as reports show the devices to be unreliable and not recommended, meanwhile our national road tolls continue to rise.

*HEMP warned governments as far back as 2006 that the introduction of saliva testing would unfairly target Cannabis and alter drug use trends for the worse as people realised other drugs pass through the body much quicker than Cannabis, or are completely undetectable.

*HEMP is calling for immediate assistance to the burgeoning Australian hemp industry to coincide with the lifting of the ban on hemp seed food consumption.

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