Republished with permission from Cannabis News Florida
The Florida Hemp Council (FLHC), a nonprofit organization founded in 2019 to provide structure, networking and member services to the hemp industry in Florida, is pleased to be working with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDCAS), as the department has started its hemp food establishment inspections. Since Jan. 1, 2020, food safety and animal feed rules for the new state hemp program under the FDACS went into effect, as the state of Florida recognizes hemp as a food. In only the first week after the rules’ introduction, approximately 125 inspections were conducted.
FDACS’ Division of Food Safety is conducting routine inspections of food establishments including supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, food processing plants, food warehouses, and more ― in order to minimize the risk of foodborne illness. FDACS food safety inspectors not only conduct food establishment inspections, but also enforce rules and pull samples for testing for the hemp program.
As regulations on hemp extract used in food and dairy products and animal feed have been incorporated into existing FDACS programs, FLHC ― which represents all channels of the state’s hemp economic engine from farmers to retailers and everyone in between ― provides feedback to the state.
“Working with the state’s hemp program while the new food safety and animal feed rules and inspections have gone into effect has been a positive experience and true partnership,” said FLHC Co-Founder and Director of Business Development Jeff Greene. “We are pleased to provide feedback to the state, and the state is listening.”
“FDACS welcomes all feedback as we continue working hard to build this new industry from the ground up. Leadership from groups like The Florida Hemp Council is vital to ensuring we have the information and input necessary to be successful,” stated Holly Bell, Cannabis Director for the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services.
In addition to the rules being provided for CBD in food and dairy products, applications for hemp food establishment permits are available, and not limited in any part of the process. The state regulator for animal feed, food establishments, and the safety of dairy and other food products, FDACS has incorporated the regulation of hemp extract products into the current regulatory structure to guarantee the new products’ safety. All of these actions are means to provide a new crop for farmers, and give Floridians access to safe and high-quality CBD products.
FLHC’s mission is to create a thriving ecosystem aimed at catapulting the Florida hemp industry to the forefront as leaders in hemp and hemp product production. It represents all channels of the state’s economic engine, from farmers to retailers and everyone in between, and helps members stay connected to each other. Members are privy to vibrant programs which enhance their professional growth.
FLHC’s goals are to keep licensing fees low, hold manufacturers to testing standards, make sure all consumer disclosures are properly labeled, promote continued research, help guide farmers so they are not taken advantage of for their land by untrusted seed sellers, and promote Florida manufacturing through state and local opportunities.