The Importance of SOP’s
Certain Cannabis SOP ’s are required in all facilities. However, in order to create a record of compliance and to avoid risk it is often beneficial for companies to have many more SOP’s than required.
At the company level, SOP’s are a set of step-by-step instructions to help workers carry out routine operations. Not only do SOPs aim to achieve efficiency and performance, but they can also reduce miscommunication and failure to comply with industry regulations.
Unfortunately, many businesses in the cannabis industry are slow to adopt these practices, unaware of the benefits they can have, or are unsure of how to go about creating them.
One cannabis SOP of particular significance in this industry is a sanitation SOP. Essentially, a sanitation SOP breaks down the steps so your employees understand exactly how to sanitize both the facility and equipment. If done correctly, this SOP will help investigators understand how and if sanitization is taking place. By making their job easier, you are only helping yourself.
For a more concrete example, let us look at the sanitation SOP in MIP or extraction settings. If in place, the cannabis SOP and accompanying protocols helps disprove any cross-contamination issues that may arise, by highlighting that your facility has a record of cleanliness.
When I was a regulator and found a concentrate that was contaminated, the extraction facility always blamed it on the grow and the grow always blamed it on the extraction facility. Of course, neither had any evidence and didn’t do any kind of testing to prove these theories.
There are several ways to avoid this sort of three ring circus. First of all, if you test everything coming into your facility, you can easily root out the contaminated products before they make it into your machines and avoid this problem altogether.
Second of all, if you have good sanitation SOP’s that are followed between every run, and a strict policy of not mixing peoples trim along with good logs, then you can disprove the cross-contamination theory almost immediately.
While an investigator might still put the product on hold to take more samples, at least they know that your company is going above and beyond to prevent contamination in your facility.
Conversely, in an edible product kitchen, having sanitation SOP’s in place will demonstrate that you are well in accordance with FDA standards. Whether you are including how to mix your sanitizer, or what to do if your Quaternary Ammonium pump runs out and such, it is good practice to create a guide for staff to reference if they aren’t 100% sure about sanitation procedures.
In conclusion, there are many SOP’s your company can implement, that can help your facility run smoother, and put investigators minds at ease. While these SOPs are not necessarily that difficult to put together for someone that has done it before, they can make a world of difference during an investigation or regular inspections. Any company that has great SOPs, is sure to do well in this highly regulated industry.
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