Mold in Facility: Mycotoxin Hazards

When cannabis mold toxins become regulated, your organization must have the proper procedures and testing in place.

When growing any product for public consumption, avoiding contaminations means lowering the risk of recalls, disposals and bad press. One contaminant that is often tested for in many industries are chemicals known as mycotoxins. However, the cannabis industry has been slow to catch on.

So, what are mycotoxins? Mycotoxins are metabolites produced by fungi or mold, and are quite capable of causing disease and death in both humans and animals. The fungi that produce these mycotoxins, are usually found in places with warm, humid climates. Unfortunately, the conditions of many indoor cannabis farms, are markedly similar.

In cannabis cultivation facilities, these toxic molds can grow on both plants and flowers alike if not properly tested for and controlled. They can even be present long after the parent fungi have died off. This means that even if a moldy product is properly cured to remove the cannabis mold, the toxin can still remain.  And, while these mycotoxins pose a huge risk on their own, if a contaminated flower is processed into concentrate, the mycotoxin percentage may skyrocket at an alarming rate.

Throughout the course of my career I have been in hundreds of On Premises Cultivation (OPC) operations; the amount with visible mold problems is staggering. Part of the problem lies in the lack of regulation. At the moment, there is no testing required for mycotoxins in finished products, or on flower in Colorado. However, other jurisdictions are in the initial testing stages and more are becoming aware of the hazards mycotoxins pose. In the future, all states will eventually increase industry standards and regulations to include mycotoxin contamination.

With proper procedures in place in an OPC such as humidity and mold control procedures, and routine testing, mycotoxins can be greatly reduced; assuring both product safety and quality for your customers.

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