Warning: protein bars contain hemp seeds

  • By Rachael Tolliver | Fort Knox Public Affairs

    Posted Apr. 23, 2015 @ 11:54 am

    FORT KNOX, Ky. — For anyone who relies on protein bars as an afternoon or after-workout snack, they should be warned about unmilitary-friendly ingredients in their all-natural selections.

    “Strong & Kind” bars, which include Hickory Smoked, Roasted Jalapeno, Honey Mustard, Thai Sweet Chili and Honey Smoked BBQ, contain hemp seeds in their ingredients. These seeds may contain low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, a chemical found in marijuana, which the Army believes may be detectable in drug screening tests.

    This ingredient is not included in the Kind fruit and nut bars and a complete list can be found at www.kindsnacks.com.

    The Army’s position on the consumption of hemp seeds, or its derivatives, is similar to its sister services’ and follows laws and guidelines set forth by U.S. law enforcement agencies.

    Army Regulation 600-85 para 4-2, (p) states that, “…Soldiers are prohibited from using hemp or products containing hemp oil.” And the “…Violations of paragraph 4-2 (p) may subject offenders to punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and or administrative action.”

    DoD regulations are based on several considerations, some of which are U.S. laws. In this case, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency categorized hemp seeds, “if they contain THC…” as an illegal product. (www.dea.gov/pubs/pressrel/pr100901.html)

    Additionally, the Department of Justice issued a ruling on what products that contained THC were exempt from being treated as an illegal drug under the Controlled Substances Act.

    In part, the ruling reads: “Specifically, the interim rule exempted THC- containing industrial products, processed plant materials used to make such products, and animal feed mixtures, provided they are not used, or intended for use, for human consumption and therefore cannot cause THC to enter the human body.” (http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/fed_regs/rules/2003/fr0321.htm)

    As such, the Army has written its policy to adhere to and to enforce these laws. The bottom line is that soldiers may not consume hemp seeds or hemp oil.

    So how can a product designed for consumption legally contain hemp seeds?

    In 2004 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a unanimous decision, which DEA did not appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, protecting the sale of hemp-containing foods. Those foods generally contain naturally occurring THC at less than the USDA guideline of 1 percent. Industrial hemp remains legal for import and sale in the U.S., but U.S. farmers still are not permitted to grow it.

    According to University of California at Berkeley, most of the THC found in hemp seeds are located in the seed hulls, which are removed during processing. Today’s hemp seeds are processed to reduce levels of THC to negligible quantities, but 15 years ago industrial hemp had higher THC levels and the seeds were prepared differently for processing.

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