Hemp, the best thing since ...

HEMP grains could be the key to a healthier bread says a Benalla baker who wants to see the law changed to allow its consumption as a human food.

Managing director at Alpine Breads Andrew Bertalli said his business was dedicated to supplying customers with the healthiest range of sour dough breads and he believed using hemp seeds would provide health benefits.

“Hemp is high in protein and fibre, can aid weight loss and by using the whole grain, it is low GI which makes you feel fuller for longer.

“It is a brilliant grain; it’s got omega 3, 6 and 9 for what the human body needs and with depleting fish stocks it makes sense to be able to use hemp grains in breads.”

Industrial hemp is a legal, non-drug relative of cannabis sativa and is used within the building, textile and cosmetic industries.

In Australia industrial hemp can be grown under licence and is used externally in creams and lotions, but it is not permitted for human consumption.

Australia and New Zealand are the only countries in the world where it is illegal to ingest foods containing hemp.

In 2012, Food Standards Australia and New Zealand recommended the product be approved as a food source as it was found to be a safe and useful dietary source with no psychoactive properties.

It would also be easily detectable by drug enforcement agencies because of the way it grows, which is distinctively different to the way marijuana is grown.

Mr Bertalli has lobbied member for Indi Cathy McGowan, who yesterday met the member for Denison Andrew Wilkie to draft a motion seeking a decision from the federal government.

“We already grow industrial hemp under licence, so if you go to a health food store you can buy the seed and it says ‘not for consumption’ on the back but clearly people are eating it,” Ms McGowan said.

“The Victorian and Tasmanian governments are already in support and it’s got nothing to do with marijuana use.

“It’s purely a health food that has been caught up in bureaucracy.”