supplier of the year, glass of milk

European food safety chiefs have decided it is safe to drink milk from cows fed with cannabis seeds.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published on Friday (26 June) its opinion on the safety of hemp – a variety of cannabis that contains very low levels of the active chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – as animal feed.

It concluded that exposure to this amount of THC via the consumption of milk and dairy from animals fed with hemp seeds was “unlikely” to pose a health risk.

EFSA also looked at the risk of consuming meat and eggs from animals fed with hemp, but said it was unable to come to any conclusions due to “lack of data”.

Hemp can be legally cultivated in the EU as long as its THC content does not exceed 0.2%. Its seeds are used to replace oilseed meals in diets for cows, pigs and horses.

The leaves, flowers and stalks of hemp plants have also been used in feed for ruminants and pigs, but EFSA said this was a “less common practice”.

The agency stressed the risk assessment “did not evaluate the exposure and associated risks of cannabis used as a medicinal drug or for recreational purposes”, but addressed “the potential risks caused through human dietary exposure from food of animal origin”.