European Parliament recognizes hemp’s value as a source of high quality protein and sustainable crop

CBD oil, hemp protein

The European Union Parliament approved this month in plenary session a report on the European Protein Strategy, in which hemp is highlighted as a “sustainable protein crop”. This report will guide future EU decisions to boost protein production for food and feed.

Background

This report is contextualized within a global scenario in which the last few years have seen such extraordinary situations as a pandemic and geopolitical tensions in the conflict with Ukraine. During these events, the EU has experienced vulnerabilities in its supply chain that highlight the need for new food policies, such as diversification of food and feed sources, to reduce dependence on external suppliers.

This report is part of the European Parliament’s efforts to strengthen the European protein sector. Protein is essential for both human and animal food, and achieving a sustainable way of obtaining this nutrient is essential to become more self-sufficient. Without proteins, it is not possible to feed properly or to sustain a food supply chain (they are as essential for animals as they are for humans).

In addition, there is also a growing concern about environmental sustainability and the environmental impact of agricultural practices, and a need to explore alternative and sustainable sources of protein.

EU Protein Strategy Report

The European Parliament has endorsed the report on the “EU Protein Strategy” ( EU Report Protein Strategy which recognizes hemp as a sustainable source of high quality protein.

In addition to hemp, the report highlights other food protein sources, such as legumes and their ecological importance, as well as the contribution of livestock and the value of aquatic and aquaculture proteins (i.e. it is not a report solely in favor of plant proteins). Alternative protein sources, such as insects and fungi, are also mentioned.

The report also highlights the need for research, training and a value chain approach to protein production, given the growing consumer demand for more sustainable food. These measures are expected not only to ensure a stable supply of protein foods, but also to strengthen the EU’s competitive position on the global market.

Hemp as food: More than CBD

You are probably familiar with hemp as a source of cannabidiol (CBD) and you’ve heard about the potential wellness benefits of cannabidiol. But the hemp plant has many other uses, most notably as a source of high quality protein.

Hemp seeds
Hemp seeds have a truly excellent nutritional profile.

Hemp seeds: a high biological value protein

Hemp seeds are a rich source of protein, essential fatty acids (including anti-inflammatory Omega 3 and Omega 6), fiber, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium, making it a nutritionally complete food.

Hemp protein stands out as one of the most complete plant proteins available.

Hemp proteins are of high biological value, which means that they contain all the amino acids essential for nutrition, their quality being perfectly comparable to that of animal protein.

Among its peculiarities, its high arginine content stands out, surpassing that of other protein sources, including cow’s milk. This amino acid is important for blood circulation and is essential for muscle synthesis, being highly valued in the sports world.

It should be noted that the quality of hemp protein is superior to that of other vegetable proteins such as soy or pea, as it contains all the essential sulfur-containing amino acids. In addition, it is better digested than legume protein.

Hemp not only “feeds” but may have additional benefits. Studies have shown that hemp protein has “bioactive peptides” with cardiovascular health benefits, making it a particularly interesting source of nutrition for those seeking heart-healthy nutrition.

As if there were more advantages to this incredible source of vegetable protein, it has a very good digestibility, comparable to milk protein, which ensures its easy assimilation in the body.

Therefore, in its report, the European Union has emphasized the potential of hemp as a sustainable protein crop and has called for EU-wide regulation to facilitate its cultivation and processing into human food and animal feed.

Other uses of hemp

On the other hand, the fibers of the hemp plant have traditionally been used in the manufacture of hemp clothing, hemp paper and ropes, and its stalks are used in bioconstruction materials and as raw material for bioplastics and bioenergy.

Even the hemp crop itself is a soil cleaner, being very useful in tasks such as phytoremediation (removes contaminants from the soil), and in addition, it is a very rustic plant, with very low water and nutrient requirements.

The plant’s multiple uses allow hemp to be utilized from start to finish, with a negative carbon footprint. For all these reasons, it is one of the most ecological and sustainable foods available.

We talked about all this in the article on the ecological uses of hemp. ecological uses of hemp .

Why is this recognition of hemp as a foodstuff in the EU so relevant?

Hemp is experiencing a renaissance in Europe. From CBD to protein, the value of the plant is becoming less and less discreetly recognized. By recognizing the value of hemp as a protein source crop, the European Union is sending a clear message about its relevance in the food chain. All of this contributes to more investment in the sector, in research and development, and is a boost to the production and variety of hemp-based products.

The European Hemp Industry Association (EIHA) is to be thanked for its contribution to the document. Hemp was included thanks to cross-party support and after several meetings with members of Parliament.

For Cannactiva this is good news, as it helps to value the cannabis plant and normalize its use, as well as consolidates the position of hemp as a pillar in the nutrition and sustainability of the future. Because there is no doubt that, in the shift towards a greener and more sustainable future, hemp plays a leading role!

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