1998: Hemp Association Guides Budding Industry

In the early days of hemp foods we had unique issues, from calming consumer fears about THC and drug tests to social legitimization of the emerging segment. Hempsters back then were into fiber, long before CBD, and skeptical that hemp could ever be a commercial food ingredient. So I started the HFA to help other food companies improve quality. RR

Hemp Association Guides Budding Industry. Natural Foods Merchandiser, October 1998, by KZ.

“The drug-testing industry thinks hemp seed foods should be banned because they will make people test positive [for drug use],” says Richard Rose, founder and president of Santa Rosa, Calif.-based Rella Good Cheese Co. and chair of the food committee for the Hemp Industries Association (HIA). “What they neglect to mention is that Advil, poppy seeds, and some cold medicines will do the same. There are alternatives to banning foods. They could find a better test or raise the threshold for detecting THC. And, there’s things the industry can do.

Rose is not all talk. This year he founded the Hemp Foods Association (HFA) because of the “serious need for quality control and good information” within the foods sector specifically. Rose says that HFA encourages higher standards for production, and distributes information. Membership is by invitation only, but manufacturers can request membership through the association’s email address.

With the passage of Canada’s Industrial Hemp Act earlier this year, a standard was set for industrial hemp THC levels to below 10 parts per million (ppm). “The Canadian standards,” says Don Wirtshafter, founder of the Athens, Ohio based Ohio Hempery, “are well below the level that could affect testing.” Many American hemp foods and cosmetic manufacturers are following this standard, but they would like to see similar standards and regulations set in the United States.

“We encourage our members to follow Canada’s standard of 10 ppm,” says Rose. “We also want manufacturers to label the percentage of hemp in their products, but I don’t think manufacturers will want to reveal that.


On the Hemp Food Association website in 2003 is:

1998: Hemp Association Guides Budding Industry

The Hemp Food Association is generously underwritten by a grant from HempNut, Inc., makers of fine hempseed foods since 1994. We thank them for their long history of funding and supporting a variety of industrial hemp projects, including Hemp Industries Association, North American Industrial Hemp Council, International Hemp Association, Navajo Hemp Project, Lakota/Pine Ridge Hemp Project, Vavilov Institute of Research, NORML, and dozens of local organizations.

Board of Advisors
Dr Jace Callaway, University of Finland, Kuopio
Robert Connell Clarke, International Hemp Association
Dr Dave Pate, International Hemp Association
Dr Dave West, Gametec
Dr John McPartland, author: Hemp Pests and Diseases
Richard Rose (Director), HempNut, Inc.

Current Members
Alpsnack
Annie Reickin
Australia Hemp
B.A.C.H.
Brigitte Mars
Bulldog Cafe
Dr Roland Theimer
Dupetit Natural Products
Fast Fuel-Up
Finola
Food Arts
French Meadow Bakery
Gametec
Hemp Dip
Hemp Essentials
Hemp Industries Association
Hemp Oil Canada
Hempest
HempNut, Inc.
Hempola
Hempzels
Humboldt Hemp Foods
hanf & natur
Institute for Local Self-Reliance
International Hemp Association
Motherhemp
Nature’s Path
North American Hemp Company
Omega Nutrition
Paul Chang
Plas Farms
Raining Rose, Inc.
Ruth’s Foods
Santa Barbara Hemp Company
Sensi Seeds
Statfold Seed Oils
Taco Loco
The Cool Hemp Company
The Hempery
Todd McCormick
Tradewinds
Turtle Island Foods
Vickrey Gardens
White Dog Cafe


Fact Sheeet
Hempseed Foods Association  (HFA)

Hempseed foods are a fast-growing segment of the hemp industry, worldwide.  However, without laying blame, the needs of hempseed foods producers and marketers are typically overlooked or unknown by the existing associations and the industry in general. 

Since the needs and operations of hempseed food producers are so different from the rest of the hemp industry, at some time we will need to organize ourselves into an association which works solely on the behalf of hempseed food producers.  With recent federal and institutional pressure mounting against hempseed foods, that time is now.

Objective: to educate the public, media, industry, and government about hempseed foods, to encourage commercial production of hempseed foods, to protect hempseed foods and companies from unfair attacks and publicity, to assure the quality of hempseed foods, and to improve the state of the art of hempseed foods and their production. 

Membership: membership will be by invitation only, although prospective members may request an invitation.  Members will be extended to those involved producing, marketing, developing, or researching hempseed food or hempseed oil for oral human consumption.  Members will be expected to sign and adhere to a Pledge of Quality, as detailed below.  HFA will apply for membership in the IHA, HIA, and NAIHC. 

Dues: membership in the HFA will be free.  It will be an informal mutual benefit association, with no income, employees, By-Laws, Board of Directors or Officers.  The Hemp Corporation is willing to provide seed funding for at least the first year’s operations, in order to see whether the association fills a need.  By not having a formal structure, more energy and resources can be directed directly into the association, and less on the bureaucracy of running an association.

Benefits: A website will be established for the association, with links to member companies’ websites, and a listing of products offered.  An email mail list will be started for members only.  Publicity will be generated for hempseed foods and the members of HFA.  Ads and listings will be made in HempWorld, Hemp Times, Hemp Magazine, Hanf, Echoes de Chanvre, Natural Foods Merchandiser, and Food Processing.  It is possible that a newsletter will be printed.  Members will have access to all information available from the HFA regarding hempseed, hempseed foods, and hempseed foods processing.  Members will be encourage to assist each other in resolving business or production problems they might have, to give confidential advice regarding product or process development, and to form strategic alliances where appropriate.

The Hemp Corporation
Santa Rosa CA 95402


Hemp Food Association
Application

Name:
Company:
Types of hemp food products or services offered:
Brand names:   
Distribution methods:  
Type of assistance needed, if any:
Issues the HFA should address:
Month and year started:                                   
Health inspection agency:

I wish to be a member of the Hemp Food Association.  I realize that there are no dues, but that membership requires agreeing to be bound by the Pledge of Quality as listed below, including any changes which may be made in the future.  I also agree that if I do not or can not comply with any item in said Pledge of Quality, I will notify the Hemp Food Association immediately and advise how and when I will comply with the Pledge of Quality, or agree to have my membership in the Hemp Food Association terminated.  I agree to execute a licensing agreement if I use any Hemp Food Association name or images.  I agree that membership in the Hemp Food Association is at the will of the Hemp Food Association, can be terminated at any time for any reason, and I agree to not hold the Hemp Food Association and its Officers, employees, and members liable for any damages arising from such termination or its consequences. 

Signed:
_________________________________                  Date:__________________
Applicant


Hemp Food Association
Pledge of Quality

We believe that in order to ensure the future of hempseed foods, legitimate members of the hempseed food industry must hold themselves to very high standards of quality and conduct.  As members of the Hemp Food Association we agree to adhere to the following standards:

  • Use only food-grade hempseed for human foods.
  • Avoid hempseed known to contain, or grown in areas known to have excessive concentrations of radioactive elements or heavy metals.
  • Follow currently-accepted Good Manufacturing Processes.
  • Strive to develop written plans for Good Manufacturing Processes and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points.
  • Be licensed by the appropriate government agencies to produce human food.
  • Comply with applicable local, state, and federal laws as they relate to food processing, especially labeling.
  • Carry product liability insurance in an amount of not less than $500,000.
  • Have detectable Tetrahydrocannabinol levels below 50 ppm in the finished product.
  • Routinely test finished products for microbiological profile, and peroxide value.
  • Make results of laboratory analyses available upon reasonable request.
  • Prepare Material Data Safety Sheets for products, as necessary.
  • Disclose on package the percentage of hempseed content in finished product.
  • All organic claims must be in accordance with applicable laws.
  • Disseminate no erroneous information on hemp or hempseed.
  • Refrain from portraying a hempseed food as capable of intoxication, or as being made from high-THC cannabis.
  • Advise the HFA of printed or distributed misinformation on hempseed foods.

I agree to be bound by the above to retain membership in the Hemp Food Association.

___________________________
Applicant


Press Release
New: the Hemp Food Association (HFA)

Santa Rosa, California— Richard Rose has announced the formation of the Hemp Food Association, located here.  The mission of the association is to educate the public, media, industry, and government about hempseed foods, to encourage commercial production of hempseed foods, to protect hempseed foods and companies from unfair attacks and publicity, to assure the quality of hempseed foods, and to improve the state of the art of hempseed foods and their production.

“Hempseed foods are a fast-growing segment of the hemp industry, worldwide,” said Rose.  “Since the needs and operations of hempseed food producers are so different from the rest of the hemp industry, we have known that at some time we will need to organize ourselves into an association which works solely on the behalf of hempseed food producers and marketers.  With the recent unfounded and hysterical attacks against hempseed foods, that time is now.”

Membership will be by invitation only, although prospective members may request an invitation.  Memberships will be extended to those involved in producing, marketing, developing, or researching hempseed food or hempseed oil for oral human consumption.  Members must be on-line, for ease of communication, and may be located anywhere in the world.  Members will be expected to sign and adhere to a Pledge of Quality.  Membership in the HFA will be free, thanks to seed funding provided by The Hemp Corporation.

A website will be established for the association, with links to member companies’ websites, and a listing of products offered.  The HFA will be available via email.  Members will have access to all information available from the HFA regarding hempseed, hempseed foods, and hempseed foods processing.  Members will be encouraged to assist each other in resolving business or production problems they might have, to give confidential advise regarding product or process development, and to form strategic alliances where appropriate. 

Rose is founder and president of The Hemp Corporation as well as the Rella Good Cheese Company.  He is also Chair of the Food Committee of the Hemp Industries Association.

–30–


Press Release
Hemp Foods are Drug Test Compatible

Santa Rosa, California— While food made from hemp is one of the fastest-growing segments of the industry, a simple misconception threatens to sink the fledgling business.  Hemp foods are made from hempseed, one of the most nutritious seeds on earth.  Second only to soybean in high-quality protein, it is also the best plant source of Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs, or the “good” fat), and high in many vitamins and minerals.  Hempseed can be used in virtually any recipe or commercial food that uses soybeans, and the 80% EFA oil is commonly used as a supplement.

Hempseed is grown and hemp foods are legal almost everywhere in the world except the U.S., where the law lumps hemp into the same category as its botanical cousin, marijuana.  This is despite the fact that hemp contains virtually none of the drug properties.  Governments as conservative as Canada and France allow hemp production while still banning marijuana, and their police have had no trouble distinguishing between the two plants.

When hempseed is harvested, small amounts of the resin on the plant stick to the outside of the seed’s shell.  That resin contains extremely minute amounts of THC, the drug component found in marijuana.  The biologically-unavailable THC will produce a “high,” and even if it could a person would have to eat many tons of hempseed in a very short time to feel any effects.

In the short history (since 1993) of the hemp foods industry a few companies made foods from hempseed which was not properly cleaned.  That allowed the sticky resin on the outside of the shell to get into the food, which when eaten caused some people to test positive for marijuana in a urine drug test, in the low parts-per-million range.  This highly sensitive drug testing technology is flawed because it can’t differentiate between hemp and marijuana consumption.

Although standard procedure requires a Medical Review Officer to interview the subject to determine whether they used marijuana or just consumed improperly prepared hemp foods, many testers omit this necessary and critical step.  It is this safeguard that prevents a negative test from being misinterpreted when the subject consumes other agents which produce false positives, such as ibuprofen, poppy seed, and cold medicine.  Why the drug testing industry is resistant to extending this required step to hempseed foods is unknown.

Instead, some are calling for the draconian act of completely banning all hempseed foods, when simply requiring producers to follow Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) as outlined by the Hemp Food Association would be sufficient to prevent any further incidences.  Those GMP require any finished foods contain less than 10 parts-per-million, which is the Canadian standard for hempseed foods.  This is a very easy standard to achieve, and even exceed, simply by using proper cleaning methods or by de-hulling the seed. 

It would be unconscionable to ban one of the most nutritious foods in the world because of this issue, especially when it can be so easily resolved.

–30–


Press Release
Hemp Food Association

HFA Position Regarding DEA’s Interim Rule

There have been concerns expressed by hempseed companies and consumers about the recent Interim Rule by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). It is the position of the Hemp Food Association (HFA) that this Interim Rule is merely a clarification of the basis under which the DEA, US Customs, and all responsible hempseed importers have been operating under for quite some time, namely, that hempseed products may not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The Interim Rule as it appears three times in the Federal Register can be found at
66 FR 51529 – Interpretation of Listing of “Tetrahydrocannabinols” in Schedule I,
66 FR 51535 – Clarification of Listing of “Tetrahydrocannabinols” in Schedule I, and
66 FR 51539 – Exemption From Control of Certain Industrial Products and Materials Derived From the Cannabis Plant.

An HFA survey of hempseed importers revealed that all were in full compliance with the Interim Rule, and have no THC in their products.

DEA has made it very clear that this is only a ban on THC in hempseed foods, not a ban on hempseed foods. So what is the reason for this new interest by the DEA in hempseed products? Over the past few years many hundreds of people failed a drug test and wrongly blamed hempseed products, hoping to be excused. While one can understand such desperation to avoid jail or losing a job, the drug testing industry became quite alarmed at what they termed the “drug test interference” defense raised by these folks and their lawyers. So DEA responded by banning THC in hempseed products, something many hempseed food companies have expected for years, and responded accordingly.

Why have responsible hempseed companies made “zero THC” products a priority? Simply because it makes for good customer service. No customer should have to risk jail or loss of a career just by consuming healthy hempseed foods, so removing all THC is important to responsible hempseed product marketers.

The hempseed products industry has the technology to provide “zero THC” hempseed and hempseed-based products. Improving processing standards to meet challenges in today’s market is the only way to ensure the long-term viability and sustainability of the hempseed products industry. Responsible hempseed importers have met this challenge.

Unreasonable fear about THC is what is holding back the hempseed industry’s very ability to be sustainable and viable. For such a small market (hempseed product sales are well under $5 million annually in North America), many companies are now in a fragile predicament, desperate for increased revenues in order to even achieve break-even and keep their doors open. In just the past 18 months many companies have suspended hemp product operations, and many more are on the verge of the same.

This issue highlights the need for federal deregulation of drug-free industrial hemp. It is an issue of states’ rights, and makes good business sense for farmers. Industrial hemp is not a drug and the government therefore does not have a compelling interest in regulating industrial hemp.

An effective way to support the fledgling hemp industry is by “voting with your dollars.” Encourage others to seek out and buy these highly nutritious hempseed products. Tell friends and family about them. Encourage their use. This is the greatest power consumers and citizens have, to vote with their dollars as well as their ballots. Many believe that the greatest market potential for hemp lies in the hempseed, and that the greater the demand is for industrial hemp, the greater the pressure will be to re-permit domestic cultivation. The DEA has pointed to the small size of the market and industry as justification for its Interim Rule.

And once the hempseed products market becomes larger, it will become sustainable, and its very existence will be the greatest proof possible that hemp is commercially viable, necessary, and should be legally cultivated again.  This large and growing market for hempseed products will create the greatest pressure to deregulate industrial hemp in the U.S., galvanizing farmers, media, consumers, retailers, distributors, and manufacturers. But getting the industry there from where it is today will likely be the greatest challenge it faces, greater even than the DEA.

In the Ruling, DEA has gone out of their way to clarify the issue, which is also the same position as HFA regarding products containing no THC:

“What Is the Legal Status of “Hemp” Products That Contain No THC? Any portion of the cannabis plant, or any product made therefrom, or any product that is marketed as a “hemp” product, that is both excluded from the definition of marijuana and contains no THC (nor any other controlled substance) is not a controlled substance. Accordingly, such substances need not be exempted from control under this interim rule, since they are, by definition, non-controlled.”

Although hempseed producers already comply with the Rule, from their writings it is clear that DEA is acting under the impression that the affected industry is very small, and that it impacts few consumers. DEA is also asking for comments from the public.

Therefore, HFA urges all interested parties to write the DEA and let them know what a bad idea it is to even further regulate one of the most strictly regulated industries in the US. Especially an industry which has absolutely zero drug and abuse potential, which is a significant source of omega-3 essential fatty acid and protein, and which is based on mankind’s oldest and historically its most widely used food crop: hempseed.

DEA is asking for comments from the public. You have until December 10 to tell them what you think of hempseed foods. Send your comments to:

Deputy Assistant Administrator
Office of Diversion Control
Drug Enforcement Administration
Attn: DEA Federal Register Representative/CCD
Washington, D.C. 20537

Here’s a sample letter:

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am writing regarding Hempseed Foods. Hempseed has been used continually as a human food around the world for over 5,000 years, and is mankind’s oldest food crop. It is one of the most nutritious foods, with a significant amount of omega-3 essential fatty acid, which many medical journals have recently reported helpful for a variety of diseases. Hempseed is higher in proteinthan meat, and is of very high quality. Hempseed tastes good, and can be used in almost any food.

I use hempseed foods, and I request that you continue to allow this super-nutritious food to be made available.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

<your name>

–END–

If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.”  Thomas Jefferson


Hemp Food Association

Attn: DEA Federal Register Representative/CCD
Deputy Assistant Administrator
Office of Diversion Control
Drug Enforcement Administration
Washington, D.C. 20537

Re: “Exemption From Control of Certain Industrial Products and Materials Derived From the Cannabis Plant”

7 December 2001

Dear Sir or Madam:

The following 250 pages are from members of the public who wish their voices to be heard, to be included in the public comment, and to go on record as supporting the following statement:

“I am writing regarding Hempseed Foods. Hempseed has been used continually as a human food around the world for over 5,000 years, and is mankind’s oldest food crop. It is one of the most nutritious foods, with a significant amount of omega-3 essential fatty acid, which many medical journals have recently reported helpful for a variety of diseases. Hempseed is higher in protein than meat, and is of very high quality. Hempseed tastes good, and can be used in almost any food. Modern hempseed foods contain no THC, are drug-free, and are enjoyed throughout the US, Canada, Asia, and Europe.

I use hempseed foods, and I respectfully request that you continue to allow this super-nutritious food to be available without restriction or additional regulation. Thank you.”

Thank you for your assistance.

Best Regards,
Richard Rose, Executive Director


1998: Hemp Association Guides Budding Industry

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