HEMP'S TIME TO SHINE

Low-THC hemp seed food and drink prod­ucts to hit the shelves

The Northern Star - - FRONT PAGE - Jas­mine Burke Jas­mine.Burke@north­ern­star.com.au

AUS­TRALIA’S new­est “su­per­food” – hemp – is now avail­able af­ter be­ing le­galised to be sold as food in Aus­tralia af­ter 20 years in the mak­ing.

And with hemp seed oil to hemp seed beer, the in­dus­try is has­ten­ing to bring more prod­ucts to the shelves for con­sumers.

The new reg­u­la­tions came into ef­fect on Sun­day af­ter the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment gave low-THC hemp seeds the green light for hu­man con­sump­tion.

The Aus­tralian HEMP Party and the Nim­bin HEMP Em­bassy are mark­ing the oc­ca­sion by of­fer­ing free sam­ples of hemp seed and hemp seed oil and tast­ing all this month.

HEMP Party and HEMP Em­bassy Pres­i­dent Michael Balder­stone said hemp seed made for “an un­par­al­lelled food”.

“It’s a su­per­food (with) ex­tra­or­di­nary omega 3, 6 and 9 and high pro­tein... Wool­worths will have it on their shelves in no time I imag­ine,” Mr Balder­stone said.

Some prod­ucts avail­able for pur­chase in­clude the raw prod­uct as in hemp seed oil, the de-hulled hemp seeds, hemp seed flour, hemp seed pro­tein and from these you’ll see muesli bars, cho­co­late, bread, milk, break­fast ce­re­als, pas­tas, salad dress­ings, ice-cream, and even beer.

An­drew Kavasi­las, HEMP Party Sec­re­tary and founder of the Nim­bin based hemp com­pany Vi­ta­hemp , said they had pur­sued this for “al­most 20 years” and de­scribed the day as “nu­tri­tion­ally his­toric”.

“We’ll have a truly healthy food fi­nally avail­able with new farm­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties in­clud­ing ac­cess to an in­ter­na­tional market that’s touch­ing the bil­lion dol­lar mark,” Mr Kavasi­las said.

“And jobs, jobs, jobs, we’re al­ready see­ing them in pro­duc­tion, pro­cess­ing, lo­gis­tics, de­sign and pack­ag­ing, mar­ket­ing, whole­sale and re­tail sales.”

Mr Kavasi­las added for the past seven years, State po­lice have raised is­sues around hemp seed foods in­ter­fer­ing with ran­dom road­side saliva test­ing “de­spite the fact the de­vices are not re­li­able enough to de­tect the dif­fer­ence be­tween minute traces in low THC hemp seed food con­sump­tion or in­tox­i­ca­tion”.

On the topic Mr Balder­stone said: “No other po­lice around the world saliva test like in Aus­tralia”, and should strive “to tell the dif­fer­ence be­tween nu­tri­tion and in­tox­i­ca­tion, drug im­pair­ment and the mere pres­ence of a be­nign cannabi­noid”.

But Kavasi­las said just be­cause the controversial food was now le­gal, it doesn’t mean there is a sup­ply here in Aus­tralia.

“Tim­ing wise it would’ve been bet­ter for the whole in­dus­try to be start­ing around har­vest time which is about Fe­bru­ary/March.”

De­spite be­ing the last coun­try to al­low hu­man con­sump­tion, ac­cord­ing to Mr Kavasi­las Aus­tralia is still in a unique po­si­tion to ex­port.

“Our er­gonomic cre­den­tials in­ter­na­tion­ally are great so get­ting a clean, green, Aus­tralian-grown or­ganic prod­uct I think peo­ple are re­ally go­ing to want that.”

PHOTO: MARC STAPELBERG

‘SU­PER­FOOD’: Hemp Em­bassy pres­i­dent Michael Balder­stone is a big adov­cate for the health ben­e­fits of hemp food.

PHOTO: MARC STAPELBERG

PROD­UCTS GALORE: Vi­ta­hemp Aus­tralia founder An­drew Kavasi­las.

PHOTO: MARC STAPELBERG

‘NU­TRI­TION­ALLY HIS­TORIC’: Hemp food was de­clared as le­gal to con­sume.

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