Hemp Foods have long been known for their nutritional benefits, unlike their cousin cannabis’ medicinal effects. “You could smoke a field of it and would not get high,” confirms Sheia K Kironn, dispatch manager for Australian company Hemp Foods Australia. Currently the manufacture and sale of hemp seeds, hemp oil and hemp protein – as long as it does not contain TetraHydraCannabinbol or THC (the drug ingredient found in cannabis) is legal in Australia as long as they are not used or sold for human consumption. These hemp products are exported to many countries around the world where hemp foods are legal. The products are also sold in Australia and New Zealand for external use only such as in cosmetic production.
In Europe and North America the market for hemp foods is over $300 million per year*1, and Australia has potential to gain a significant proportion of this market share. And the Federal Government seems to believe Australian companies have the know-how to make this happen.
Northern Rivers Company Hemp Foods Australia received a significant grant from the Department of Trade and Investment announced by Acting Premier Andrew Stoner*2 to assist with the setup of a state of the art hemp foods production plant in Bangalow, Northern New South Wales. The plant designed by author and hemp consultant Paul Benhaim is based upon 15 years of experience in the industry and will contribute to the employment of at least 11 people in the new factory and many more subsequently.
Factory Production Manager Martin Ernegg, the inventor of a hemp based bio-plastic called Zelfo*3 is currently building the food-grade factory at the 1000sq.m facility in Bangalow, Northern New South Wales. “We are preparing our facility for export production and hope that the COAG committee will vote positively so we can grow further to support local Australian industry.”
Although Australia is still one of the very few countries in the western world to not allow hemp as a food, this is expected to change in legislation being voted on in December. A report by FSANZ*4 is expected within the next week to support the legislation. FSANZ, previously ANZFA supported the introduction of hemp as a food in 2002*5
Until that time Hemp Foods Australia*6 manufactures Australian Certified Organic hemp seeds, hemp oil and hemp protein for export and sale within Australia as ‘not for human consumption’. “We look forward to moving our sales focus to Australian food manufacturer’s such as bakeries, cereal and snack food companies when the legislation allows us – hopefully by the end of this year.” confirms Managing Director Paul Benhaim
Meanwhile, “Sales for the Company have been growing month after month.” explains Felipe Favaro, Finance Manager for Hemp Foods Australia, since Paul Benhaim our local and global hemp expert founded the company 18 months ago. Previously Paul introduced hemp foods into Europe and created a multi-million dollar industry that continues successfully today*7. “Due to fear of unsupportive legislation Australia has been held back for many years now, but that looks like it is change.” Paul states positively.
Hemp Foods Australia has various licenses from the Australian Government’s Department of Primary Industries and Department of Health And Ageing to allow importation and growing of industrial hemp. Last years crops in Mullumbimby and Byron Bay by a sister Company The Hemp Farm*8 led to varietal trial results leading to further crops this year. “This season we have been approved by the Department of Primary Industries to grow industrial hemp with, amongst others – the local Byronshire Council as a small trial.
Learn more about the nutritional benefits of hemp seeds, hemp oil and hemp protein now being produced in Bangalow including free recipes (so you know how to use them when legal) at www.hempfoods.com.au
Learn more about the farming aspects of hemp at www.hempfarm.com.au
Learn more about the potential of the hemp industry at www.startahempbusiness.com
*1 Congressional Research Service, Hemp As An Agricultural Commodity
*4 Application A1039 Low THC Hemp as a Food
*5 Application A360 Hemp as a Food http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/foodstandards/applications/applicationa360hempasanovelfood/
*6 Hemp Foods Australia – legislation http://www.hempfoods.com.au/legislation/
*7 About Paul Benhaim http://thehempbuilder.com/about-me
*8 Hemp Farm http://www.hempfarm.com.au