Industry Certifications: Which is Best?
Are you looking for new company goals for 2022? Obtaining quality and safety certifications for the business will boost your competitive edge! Not only do company certifications set you apart from competitors, but some states require some certifications and offer incentives for obtaining certifications. Certifications can boost workplace efficiency, create greater confidence in customers, reduce risks of recalls, increase the value of your business, and better prepares you for regulatory visits. We also see a surprising benefit with employees…we observe an increase in employee satisfaction since employers have pre-determined expectations.
There are many certifications available to the cannabis and psilocybin industry. We are frequently asked which certifications are best. Ultimately, the certification you pick is dependent on your company goals. Here is a breakdown of common certifications available to the industry. There are plenty more certifications, these are the most sought after within the cannabis and psilocybin industry. No matter which certification you choose, ensure the certifying body is accredited, meaning that the certifying company has been audited and approved by a higher authorization to abide by a certain set of standards.
Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP)
Current Good Manufacturing Practices (aka cGMP) is a set of standards that were created by the US Food and Drug Administration under the authority of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and cover manufacturers of food, dietary supplements, cosmetics, medical devices, and prescription drugs. cGMP requires a systematic quality approach to manufacturing, including the development and implementation of procedures and documentation for the design, monitoring, and control of all manufacturing processes. cGMP certification is specific to the facility, each production facility will need their own certification. This quality management system helps to ensure products are made consistently and reliably to product specifications for identity, strength, quality, and purity. Not only does cGMP help businesses prevent hazards such as contamination or errors, but it also ensures that products are safe for consumers, every time. Most large retailers (such as Walmart, CVS, etc.) require this certification prior to selling products.
The cGMP certification is best suited for manufacturing and processing facilities. This includes processing after harvest and begins with trimming through extraction, infusion, packaging and storage. Learn more about cGMP certification HERE.
Good Agricultural and Collection Practices (GACP)
Good Agricultural and Collection Practices (GACP) provides the industry direction on cultivation, collection (aka harvesting), and primary processing practices specific to medicinal plants. Primary processing includes washing, cutting before drying, fumigation, freezing, etc. The GACP was developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2003 with the focus on improving the quality of medicinal plants used in retail. According to the WHO, the GACP guidelines:
- Contribute to the quality assurance of medicinal plant materials used as the source for herbal medicines, which aims to improve the quality, safety and efficacy of finished herbal products;
- Encourage and support the sustainable cultivation and collection of medicinal plants of good quality in ways that respect and support the conservation of medicinal plantsand the environment in general.
The GACP certification is best suited for cultivation, harvesting, and primary processing facilities.
ISO 9001 is a standard that sets out the requirements for a quality management system holistically within the entire company. It helps businesses and organizations to be more efficient and improve customer satisfaction. This set of standards is based on the idea of continual improvement. In contrast to cGMP certification, ISO 9001 is suitable for organizations of all types, sizes, and sectors, not just the production facility. Similar to cGMP, some enterprises require ISO 9001 prior to engaging in business.
This certification is great for all types of companies!
ISO 22000 is an internationally recognized Food Safety Management System that combines the ISO 9001 approach to cGMP standards, food safety management and HACCP for the assurance of food safety at all levels. The standard maps out how an organization can demonstrate its ability to control safety hazards to ensure that food is safe.
ISO 22000 can be used by any organization within the food supply chain. ISO 2200 is best suited for cultivation, manufacturing/processing, storage and distribution facilities.
There is a growing interest in purchasing organic products. A way to attract consumers is obtaining organic certification. Organic certification helps to demonstrate transparency to consumers that your product is grown or handled in an organic way that (according to the USDA) contributes to increasing water quality, conserves energy, increases biodiversity, and improves soil health. Both cultivation and processors may receive this certification. Unfortunately, the marijuana industry cannot yet receive organic certification but may continue organic practices. Hopefully, organic certification will be available to marijuana companies when federal legalization occurs.
Organic certification is often obtained by hemp cultivation and hemp manufacturing/processing establishments. Learn more about Organic Certification HERE
SURPRISE – Some States Require Certain Certifications, While other States Provide a Benefit with Gaining Certification
Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) requires infused beverage manufacturers to obtain or provide evidence companies are in the process of obtaining cGMP certification by an accredited certifying body. Other cannabis producers and cultivation have an incentive to receive cGMP certification through MRA’s reduced sampling and testing requirements. MRA will publish these allowances and information on how to obtain approval for allowances, stay tuned!
Under New York State’s Office of Cannabis Management Hemp Program’s regulations, processors are required to maintain a third-party cGMP certification for the duration of the license term or provide a detailed plan for obtaining the certification within six months of approval of the application and before beginning operations as a processor.
Florida Department of Health requires processing facilities to obtain a cGMP certification by an accredited certifying body within 12 months after licensure. If the facility does not pass their audit, the facility is required to immediately stop processing until it can demonstrate to the department that the facility has met the requirement.
Certification Requirement Trending Amongst States
It seems more and more states are either requiring or incentivizing cannabis cultivation & manufacturing companies to receive certifications from accredited companies. This might be trendy now, but if cannabis regulations are aligning with the FDA’s requirements surrounding quality and safety, obtaining certification is one easy way to ensure you’re in compliance when FDA regulation begins. Even if your state doesn’t require or incentivize certification, the long-term success of your business should focus on the safety and quality of your products. If this trend attracts more states, are you preparing for certification?
Contact Allay Consulting to learn more about certifications available to the cannabis industry!
Third party certifications have become increasingly popular among the cannabis industry. Receiving and maintaining certifications is a worthwhile endeavor that will set up your business for long term success, give you a competitive edge and ensure a safe product to customers. Allay is here to select which certification is best for your company goals and support you through the certification process.
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