USDA, hemp food producers assure public on coronavirus transmission fears

Companies making hemp-derived foodstuffs are joining federal authorities to remind folks that hemp foods are being inspected as usual and are safe to eat through the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture sent an alert this week that no staffing changes are planned at the agency’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, or its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The agency asked businesses to get in touch about any business disruptions caused by the pandemic.

“As always, communication between industry and government will be key,” the USDA statement read.  “We are all relying on early and frequent communication with one another to overcome challenges as they arise.”

The message comes as food manufacturers, including hemp-food makers, scramble to assure customers their products are safe.

Victory Hemp Foods, which sells hempseeds and protein powders, sent customers an advisory that its products are inspected and that coronavirus transmission via food has been ruled unlikely by global health agencies.

“Our raw material supply chain is not currently impacted, and we are working diligently to avoid any major disruptions,” the company said.

Federal food oversight covers only products made from hemp’s grain products, such as hemp hearts and oilseeds. Foods and dietary supplements made with hemp flower extracts, such as hemp-derived CBD, are banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and therefore not inspected except when local and state authorities choose to regulate them.