Hemp seeds as food
Find out about law changes that allow hemp seed to be sold as food from 12 November 2018.
Hemp seed as food
Amended regulations to permit hemp seed to be sold as food are in force from 12 November 2018.
On 28 April 2017, trans-Tasman Ministers approved a change to the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code to allow the sale of hemp seed as a food for human consumption. Before this could happen, some amendments had to be made to the Misuse of Drugs (Industrial Hemp) Regulations 2006 and the Food Regulations 2015. The changes provide for:
- consistency between the Food Standards Code to allow low-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) hemp seed as food and the Industrial Hemp Regulations
- regulations under the Food Act 2014 to declare low-THC hemp seed to be a food
- greater flexibility around licensing to possess, cultivate, and trade in low-THC hemp.
To put these changes into effect, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) worked with other agencies, including the Ministry of Health and New Zealand Customs Service.
Hemp production is highly regulated to ensure that illegal, high-THC cannabis is not produced. Growing, possession and trade of whole seeds requires a licence from the Ministry of Health.
Public consultation on proposed changes closed on 20 June 2018.
- A Guide to Hemp Seeds as Food [PDF, 511 KB]
- A Guide to Labelling Food Containing Hemp Seeds [PDF, 652 KB]
Find out more
- Industrial hemp regulations – NZ Legislation
- Australia New Zealand Food Standard 1.4.4 – Prohibited and restricted plants and fungi
- Read the Government's April 2017 media release – hemp seeds to be legalised as food
- Growing industrial hemp – Ministry of Health website
- Proposal to allow hemp seed as food – Food Standards Australia New Zealand website
Who to contact
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