Marijuana Edibles and Cross-Contamination Risks
As marijuana is being legalized in certain states, people are using it in many forms, including edibles.
Unfortunately, food safety isn’t always top-of-mind when preparing marijuana edibles, and if proper protocols aren’t followed, consumers can get very ill.
Cross-contamination is usually something that most people associate with foods, but it is also a real risk in the cannabis industry. Improper handling of cannabis and other ingredients can make consumers seriously ill, can cost companies millions of dollars in lost product, and can ruin organizations’ reputations. Companies that are involved in the cannabis industry should be aware of potential risks of marijuana edibles and always follow proper protocols to mitigate the risk of cross contamination.
Cross-contamination can happen in a number of ways in cannabis facilities. When growing cannabis, there are often issues involving pests, molds, and bacteria. Arrange regular visits from a pest control agency to manage pests, such as mice and gnats. Mice love cannabis as much as humans do, and if they get into your facility they will not only eat your plants, but will also contaminate product with their urine and feces. Mice are known to frequently carry salmonella bacteria in their digestive tract, so salmonella can be easily spread through contact with rodent waste. This is true with marijuana edibles just as it is with other food products.
Mold can be an issue as cannabis grows. Powdery mildew (PM) is non-toxic and doesn’t produce mycotoxins (any toxic substance produced by a fungus), but it’s unsightly and can sometimes negatively affect the yield of the plant. Sometimes PM is tracked in from other sources on employees’ clothing. It can also come from contaminated grow houses. The flow of the facility is important to reduce or eliminate PM. Additionally, prevent employees from going into a contaminated room and then going into a non-contaminated room. This is essential to limiting PM/mold exposure.
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