Hemp food industry could lead to 'jobs, jobs, jobs'

PRODUCTS GALORE: Vitahemp Australia founder Andrew Kavasilas believes we will see the industry grow strength to strength now that it is legal to consume as a food.
PRODUCTS GALORE: Vitahemp Australia founder Andrew Kavasilas believes we will see the industry grow strength to strength now that it is legal to consume as a food. Marc Stapelberg

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 November 12 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."

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