HomeNewsNutritious Hemp Waste For US Cattle Feed Soon? 

Nutritious Hemp Waste For US Cattle Feed Soon? 

Hopefully it won’t be too much longer before cattle farmers in the USA will be able to legally start feeding a highly nutritious hemp waste product to their herds.

One of the by-products of hempseed oil production is “cake”, which retains a significant quantity of protein and other important nutritional elements, making it ideal for use as animal fodder. It’s one of the many agricultural uses for hemp.

But in the USA at a federal level (and in some other jurisdictions), it cannot be legally used as animal fodder at this point due to concerns about potential cannabinoid contamination of products consumed by humans from animals that have been fed hempseed cake.

While hemp by legal definition has extremely low levels of the intoxicating cannabinoid THC and even lower levels in the seed itself, it’s been a thorny point. There are also other cannabinoids to consider, such as non-intoxicating cannabidiol (CBD).

But in another step towards addressing these concerns, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA’s ARS) and North Dakota State University (NDSU) scientists have determined cattle fed with hempseed cake retain very low – and importantly, food-safe – levels of cannabinoids in muscle, liver, kidney, and fat tissues.

“According to our exposure assessment, it would be very difficult for a human to consume enough fat from cattle fed with hempseed cake to exceed regulatory guidelines for dietary THC exposure,” said David Smith – lead researcher of the study. “From a food safety view point, hempseed cake having low cannabinoid content can be a suitable source of crude protein and fiber in cattle feed while offering industrial hemp producers a potential market for this byproduct of hempseed oil extraction.”

While this is good news for both cattle farmers and those looking for markets for hempseed cake, farmers are not able to start feeding this to their cattle yet. Final determination and approval needs to come from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. And there’s been plenty of urging for the FDA to do so.

An abstract from the study, which was published in the journal Food Additives & Contaminants can be viewed here.

Steven Gothrinet
Steven Gothrinet has been part of the Hemp Gazette in-house reporting team since 2015. Steven's broad interest in cannabis was initially fueled by the realisation of industrial hemp's versatility across multiple sectors. You can contact Steve here.

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