Wasn’t hemp legalized in 2018?
Interest in the use of hemp in commercial animal feed has accelerated since the passage of the 2018 Agricultural Improvement Act (“Farm Bill”). While the Farm Bill expanded the legal production of hemp in the United States, the use of hemp in animal feed remains under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and state regulatory programs for commercial animal feed.
Why isn't hemp already approved for use in animal feed?
Currently, no hemp ingredients have been approved through the established animal feed ingredient review pathways. More data is needed to understand that hemp ingredients are safe for animals and result in safe human food (meat, milk, and eggs). For example, research is needed to show that hemp can be utilized by different animals as a source of nutrition and that the ingredients do not present any safety concerns when animals consume them every day and for extended periods of time.
What is needed to get hemp approved in animal feed?
We recommend proponents of hemp in feed work toward ingredient definitions using the defined regulatory pathways used for every animal feed ingredient. Support research through universities or private labs so that the safety and utility of hemp can be fully understood before it is allowed for commercial purposes. Continue to assemble data, and to work on submitting applications through the established animal feed ingredient review processes. Our goal is for more research to ensure the safety and well-being of the public, our animals and our agricultural industry.
Some hemp ingredients are Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS). Are those ingredients acceptable for use in animal feed?
When a substance is Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS), the approval is specific to the intended use, which includes the intended species. Hemp seed oil, hulled hemp seed, and hemp seed protein powder are considered GRAS for use in human food, and a GRAS Notice was evaluated by FDA to support this conclusion. However, humans and animals are different, and more data is needed by FDA to evaluate and help ensure that ingredients derived from hemp are safe and effective for use in animal feed.
Will hemp be available in any animal products (i.e., supplements, oils, treats, feed)?
Currently, there are no hemp ingredients approved for use in animal feed or animal drug products. In some states, hemp may be allowed in some feed and other product types.
Why the new process for animal feed ingredients? Why is hemp being regulated now after it has been available for so long?
Hemp is being treated like any other ingredient for animal feed. Although there is historical mention of hemp in animal feed, it is critical to ensure that today’s hemp is safe for today’s animals.
Why is hemp seed going through the ingredient approval process -- and not CBD and other cannabis products?
CBD is an active ingredient in an approved drug for people and cannot be added to food. Ingredients in animal feed must have an appropriate feed use, that is to provide taste, aroma, or nutrition.