ASTM Approves Standard for Sampling Hempseed for Human Consumption
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ASTM Approves Standard for Sampling Hempseed for Human Consumption

The standard is meant to guide those along the supply chain in gathering samples "that are as correct a representation as possible for the hempseed."

November 18, 2021

ASTM International, an organization that develops standards for a variety of industries, has recently approved a new standard for sampling hempseed intended for human consumption. 

The organization said the standard will soon be published as D8417.

“This guide helps farmers, supply chain partners, labs, and other players in the hemp food supply chain facilitate hempseed samples that are as correct a representation as possible for the hempseed to be assessed,” said ASTM International member Clarence Shwaluk in a news release. “Hempseed can be tested for regulatory or quality control reasons, so it’s important that the sample taken provides unbiased representation for the property to be assessed.” 

In addition to being tested for THC levels as a hemp product, hempseed used for human consumption must also be tested for additional standards such as moisture and microbial levels.

In the news release, Shwaluk added that standard, accurate and unbiased sampling is important to reflect the safety of the product. “Accuracy starts with how the sample is taken, and farmers and companies don’t want to undertake decisions based on the wrong results,” Shwaluk said.

He noted that accurate sampling can determine whether the hempseed is used for consumption or an alternative purpose.

“If accurate sampling is done and remediation -  if needed -  can be undertaken early, food waste may be avoided,” says Shwaluk. “For example, if seed is too high in moisture, it may eventually spoil, but sampling ahead of time may allow for alternative management so seed is not wasted. That can improve efficiency and is a win-win if the sample leads to accurate results.”

ASTM formed D37, its cannabis committee, in 2017. The group currently has more than 1,000 industry experts and has published more than 20 cannabis-related standards, with “dozens” more in development, according to its website. 

Currently, the organization’s only published hemp-related standard is a guide on assessing spoilage of hempseed intended for human consumption. Sixteen other hemp-related standards are in the works, including those related to hemp fiber cultivation and decortication.

Beyond helping achieve standardization, following ASTM’s standards could help those along the supply chain defend themselves in legal proceedings by being able to prove they followed protocols adopted by the agency and unanimously approved by ASTM’s Cannabis Committee, Hemp Grower previously reported.