The consideration of low-THC hemp as a food took a significant step forward today after agreement at a Forum on Food Regulation teleconference of Australian and New Zealand Ministers.

The Hodgman Government has been a long-time advocate for the use of low-THC hemp in food, which will present an economic opportunity for our farmers.

Last year, the Forum noted that while most of the work underway to address information gaps in relation to low-THC hemp food was on track, completion of clinical human consumption trials had been delayed from March 2016 to later in the year.

Minister for Health Michael Ferguson said that following on from a proposal raised by the Tasmanian Liberal Government at the last Forum, Members today formally agreed to task Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) to begin work on developing a draft proposal on how low-THC hemp could be legally designated as a food.

FSANZ will be provided with the findings of the work to address information gaps, including finalising the consumption trial later this year, and will provide their proposal, when ready, to the Forum for consideration.

“This is a common sense move to ensure that once testing is complete the legalisation of low-THC hemp in food can be formally considered at the earliest possible opportunity without further delay”, he said.

Minister for Primary Industries and Water Jeremy Rockliff said allowing the use of low-THC hemp in food products has potential to open new markets for our agriculture sector, strengthening the economy and creating jobs.

“The Liberal Government is committed to the industry and has streamlined the licencing and regulatory processes making it easier for our farmers to grow industrial hemp.

“Special purpose legislation for the cultivation and supply of industrial hemp for commercial production was introduced and licences have been extended from one to five years.

“Tasmanian farmers are now well placed to capitalise on new markets if the Federal prohibition on hemp foods in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code is lifted.”

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