Hot Right Now: New Zealand hemp, cannabis gin, JD's new plant factory and more among our trending social media stories

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New Zealand Maori trust Ngāti Kahungunu ki Tāmaki nui-a-Rua Trust has partnered with Chinese hemp specialists Jinzhou Qiaopai Biotech with an eye on the New Zealand hemp market. ©Getty Images
New Zealand Maori trust Ngāti Kahungunu ki Tāmaki nui-a-Rua Trust has partnered with Chinese hemp specialists Jinzhou Qiaopai Biotech with an eye on the New Zealand hemp market. ©Getty Images

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New Zealand hemp, cannabis gin, JD's new plant factory and more stories trending on social media feature in this edition of Hot Right Now.

Leading New Zealand in hemp: Maori trust partners with China firm following food rules change

New Zealand Maori trust Ngāti Kahungunu ki Tāmaki nui-a-Rua Trust has partnered with Chinese hemp specialists​ Jinzhou Qiaopai Biotech with an eye on the New Zealand hemp market.

This follows the government’s recent legislative change allowing hemp seeds to be sold as food​.

The partnership comprises various prospects surrounding hemp, including a possible hemp processing facility in Tararua district, hemp planting trials, and facilitating the sale of high-quality hemp products in the country.

According to reports, trust chairman Hayden Hape has commented that the iwi (community/tribal unit) saw the hemp industry as a sustainable business undertaking that could enable economic development.

Moving beyond stigma: Australian firm releases ‘World First’ cannabis gin with eye on wider global market

Melbourne-based The Cannabis Company has released what it calls the ‘world’s first ever gin distilled using cannabis terpenes’​, which sold out its first batch within just three days.

The gin is named ‘The Myrcene Hemp Gin’ and is made out of cannabis terpenes-containing hemp, after the most abundant terpene found in its midst.

“Without giving away our secret recipe, I can confirm that the raw hemp material we use in production does indeed contain cannabis terpenes, in addition to a unique proprietary blend of specially selected cannabis terpenes added throughout the distillation process,”​ said The Cannabis Company co-owner and Chief Marketing Officer Cormac Sheehan to FoodNavigator-Asia​.

He explained that terpenes are scented molecules that affect how one feels when applied to the skin, inhaled or consumed. These are typically very concentrated, so only a few drops are required.

‘An entirely new agriculture model’: JD and Mitsubishi open largest hydroponic plant factory in China

JD.com and Mitsubishi Chemical have joined forces​ to launch what they deem the largest “plant factory” in China, which is based on hydroponic technology.

According to the JD.com corporate blog, the factory is 11,040 square metres in size and uses both hydroponics with solar light and a closed seedling production environment with artificial lighting.

“JD’s supply chain technology, logistics network and e-commerce expertise combined with Mitsubishi Chemical’s sophisticated growing technology puts us in an ideal position to create an entirely new model for agriculture, and cultivates a fresh and healthy lifestyle in China,”​ said Xiaosong Wang, President of JD FMCG and Food.

“The JD Plant Factory in Tongzhou marks JD’s entry into the very beginning of the fresh food production chain, allowing us to guarantee that the fresh goods we sell have been treated with the care JD applies to everything we do.”

Adulteration ‘revelation’: 10 out of 10 honey brands tested in India found to violate FSSAI standards

Lab tests have revealed that all 10 out of 10 brands of honey that were tested in India are in violation of Food Safety and Standards Authority (FSSAI) parameters​.

The lab tests were conducted by consumer organisation Consumer Voice, who deemed these to be ‘authenticity tests’​, and said that the results were a ‘revelation’.

Tests were carried out for C4 sugars (a means of determining whether honey has been adulterated. Pure honey should not contain C4 sugars above certain limits, although this is currently being disputed​) as well as a range of other quality, safety and acceptability parameters.

The ten brands of honey tested were: 24 Mantra, Badiyanath, Dabur, Fresh & Pure, Hitkary, Himalaya, Khadi, Patanjali, Reliance and Zandu. 

Plant-based egg goes east: JUST outlines China expansion plans

US food tech firm JUST would be launching its plant-based product, JUST Egg, in China​ in the upcoming weeks, CEO Josh Tetrick told FoodNavigator-Asia.

Made from mung beans, JUST Egg will first enter China via e-commerce platforms, including Tmall and JD.

The e-commerce launch will take place sometime in January 1 to February 15, Tetrick said, depending on the market roll out process.

Besides e-commerce, JUST is also working with retail stores and restaurants to sell its plant-based egg.

They include supermarket chains City Super, Hema, and restaurants Hunter Gatherer, Ajisen Ramen, and Flavours, plus food conglomerate Ting Hsin International Group.

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