Cannabis Certification Primer: ISO 9001 & 22000

This is an excerpt from an article found on Company Week FULL ARTICLE

ISO, the International Organization for Standardization, has been bringing standards to manufacturers and other businesses since 1947.

It’s developed more than 23,000 standards in its existence, including ISO 9001. More than 1 million companies all over the planet have ISO 9001 certification. The most recent update is ISO 9001:2015.

ISO describes ISO 9001 as “a standard that sets out the requirements for a quality management system. It helps businesses and organizations be more efficient and improve customer satisfaction.”

Kim Stuck of Allay Consulting says it is very relevant to the cannabis and hemp industries. “ISO 9001 is essentially just documentation — it’s systems, it’s tracking where your product is going and what your product is doing, and training documentation,” says Stuck. “Any manufacturing of any kind can use ISO 9001. It really is just a system of organization that any company should have to some degree.”

She adds, “It can be used almost anywhere you’re making something for the public. Even with manufacturing of extraction equipment, if you get a bad batch of bolts and you have to do a recall, it would help you.”

Stuck says ISO 9001 is often paired with another foundational certification in cannabis. “A lot of it coincides with GMP,” she says. “If you get your GMP certification, most of your ISO 9001 certification is already done.”

Allay typically required about 25 billable hours more for a dual GMP/ISO 9001 project, but it’s dependent on what organization is doing the certification, she adds. Allay works with BSINSFSGS, and DNV GL, noting that the latter two will certify CBD companies, but not THC. “It’s very different with each certifying body,” she explains. “With SGS, if you do GMP with them, they roll in 9001. NSF doesn’t do that; you actually have to do it separately.”

Of the other ISO certifications, she notes, “The ISO 22000, that’s the one I really like [for cannabis and hemp companies]. It’s the manufacturing one, so if you’re making any kind of food or oil or anything like that, the 22000 is the one you would want to go to.

While Allay is working with clients towards ISO 9001, the firm has yet to take on an ISO 22000 certification. “Anybody who has an ISO 22000 has ISO 9001 already,” says Stuck. “The ISO 22000 is a little higher-level and it’s a lot broader [than ISO 9001], so it would take a lot longer. That would have to be a separate project. . . . There is not any cannabis company right now that has ISO 22000 at this point, because we’re just not far enough along to get there. There’s only a handful of people who have GMP.”


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