Oil Seed Extractions Production manager Barry Snell checks out oil extraction in the Ashburton plan. Supplied photo.
Ashburton company Oil Seed Extractions has been waiting a
long time for a change in legislation which would enable it
to sell food products made from hemp in Australasia.
The producer of seed oils for the food, skin care and health
sectors, and its parent company Midlands Seed, were among the
first companies in New Zealand to be granted a licence to
grow hemp back in 2001-2002.
The companies were also the first to grow and process hemp
seed into oil for retail sale and two years ago Oil Seed
Extractions became the first New Zealand company to produce
hemp seed protein.
Hemp seed oil, flour and protein is sold in countries such as
the United Kingdom, Europe, Canada and the United States.
With the exception of hemp seed oil, hemp foods are not
allowed to be sold in New Zealand for human consumption.
Nigel Hosking, sales and marketing manager, said an
application had been made to Food Standards Australia New
Zealand but it was unlikely to be considered before January
Research and development of improved cultivars continue to be
trialled on the company's Mid Canterbury farm and if the
breakthrough comes, it will be well-placed to take advantage
of any relaxation in the strict rules around hemp.
In the meantime, Oil Seed Extractions continues to search for
new products and new markets, targeting the development of
high-quality nutritional products.
The company is continuing to expand its range of seed oils,
specialising in natural nutritional oils and food ingredients
rich in essential fatty acids.
Among the extensive product range is oil made from avocados,
flax seed, olives, evening primrose, hazelnut, rape seed,
hemp seed, blackcurrants, borage seed, kiwifruit, pumpkin
seeds, grape seeds, walnuts and macadamia nuts.
Much of the oil-producing seed is grown in Mid Canterbury
while others are sourced from areas known as the best
producers of their particular crop, Sarah Adams, the
international sales and marketing manager for Midlands Seed
The chain of sowing, growing, harvesting and processing can
be traced and is an added marketing tool, particularly in
Asian countries, where food safety and quality are important.
The company's range of bulk oil products has been launched
into the Asia Pacific region and Mr Hosking sees untapped
potential in this market.
The Ashburton processing plant under manager Barry Snell,
extracts the oil by the cold pressing method. This is
regarded as the principal method of extracting oils without
The oil is made in an oxygen-free environment, the
temperatures do not exceed 40degC in the process and the oils
are not exposed to light.
- by Maureen Bishop