Cannabis infused edible sales have soared in the last 5 years, as State after State continue to legalize marijuana. So, it may not come as a big surprise that industry standards have been regulated with laws and policies for our safety. This is a good thing. As a result, there are High Level Standards for Cannabis Infused Edibles. Cannabis infused products fall under Food Safety Guides, as outlined by the NEHA, The National Environmental Health Association. Let’s take a look at what this all means.

High Level Standards for Cannabis Infused Edibles – Policies

Edibles are considered food. And being such, must comply with industry standards and regulations. The NEHA compiled a list of 10 categories. We will look at each.

Storage and Sanitation

These seem self evident but are in fact quite detailed and very important. Storage and sanitation laws refer to the handling of products at any point of production. This means from the seeds and growers, to the laboratories and kitchen facilities, to testing, and finally packaging, delivery and the ultimate sale thereof.

Collection and Testing

It makes sense that safety and quality start with the farmer. Farmers now present samples for testing. Policies include bud testing for microbial’s, pesticide levels and solvents. The NEHA outlines methods for uniform industry-wide testing protocols, for example, process testing (at the various stages from plant to plate), third party laboratory testing and certifications.

High Level Standards for Cannabis Infused Edibles – Policies 2

Laboratory Accreditation

The only way to protect yourself as a consumer is to assure enforcement of standardized testing across all labs that test cannabis products. Most States already adhere to ISO, The International Organization for Standardization and 17025 Laboratory Accreditation. One problem is that labs may do one or more type of testing and not another. Groups like the D37 Cannabis Committee push law makers to develop industry-wide standards for lab accreditation.

Tracking, Transport and Distribution

This is a tall order that requires enormous and meticulous care. There are many recommendations in place for standardizing all of these phases from seed to sale. Transport is crucial when it comes to food safety. Therefore, its imperative that we track and identify each strain, the processes of extraction and distribution methods of all cannabis infused edibles.  Standards include universal tracking systems, refrigeration, documentation, certifications and more.

Serving Size and Homogeneity

Cannabis infused products differ from “normal” food products.  Cannabis is a drug. Accordingly, the standards are more far reaching. Consumption of THC can be dangerous if the dosages are not clearly defined. Policy requires serving sizes on the label for all edibles. Likewise, homogeneity insures that the THC is evenly distributed throughout the edible and not concentrated in one area. After all, this is medicine. The NEHA proposed that serving sizes and recommended dosages be clearly defined. This includes limiting THC servings to 100 mg’s per package.

More High Level Standards for Cannabis Infused Edibles

Labeling and Packaging

These laws go hand in hand with the previous category, but go further.  Firstly, ingredients list to include the strain and extraction processes. All food products must comply with safety and quality management regulations. Labels need expiration dates, allergen alerts, and THC warnings. Also, instructions must be made available for dosage and usage. And finally, packaging must be child/tamper proof and water resistant. Full disclosure is the best line of defence for you, the consumer.

Education and Training

Basic food handling should be obvious. But many elements are at play here. Universal standardized policies are essential. Growers receive training, so too; distributors, processors, laboratory testers and finally dispensary workers. Food safety training and certification policies update every day as this new industry booms. But training standards continue to vary State by State.

Food Safety and Plans

Its almost redundant at this point, but again crucial and a bit more in depth. All SOP(Standard Operating Procedures) apply when producing any type of medicine or food product. Most States adhere with HACCP(Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point Plans.) This includes inspections and sanitary requirements. It also, includes recalls, audits and health violation punishments.

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Waste Disposal

As with any manufacturer, there are waste issues that accompany production. Proper waste disposal is not only paramount its also ethical, moral and the law. The law insists on inferior product destruction. And waste be unrecognizable when disposed. New regulation proposed address storage of waste, maintenance of operating systems, liquid and solid removal and proper documentation of all the aforementioned.

Regulatory Oversight

And finally, an important piece of the puzzle involves regulatory oversight. To this date, there’s no unified, all powerful body that oversees the Cannabis Industry. States implement their own regulations. One problem is the various stages and companies involved in production, sale of, growing, operations, inspections and taxation.

Why is This Important to Me?

High Level Standards for Cannabis Infused Edibles are important to you for three reasons. Firstly, you’re consuming medicine and food. Secondly, understanding the dosage about what you’re ingesting matters. And finally, as new States legalize you need protection. So, if you use cannabis for recreation or medicinal reasons, you want, need and deserve to be safe.