Keep It Professional~ Food Safety in the Cannabis Industry
There are many aspects in the cannabis industry that demand a leader’s attention.
Is a food safety focus a priority?
Consider that for medical cannabis patients, who may already be immune compromised.
This puts them at an even greater risk for foodborne illness. We need to ask, “Are employees doing everything possible to ensure a safe, wholesome product?”
To move the cannabis industry forward positively, cannabis and products created from it, must be handled with the utmost care and diligence.
A properly trained staff is a necessity in the cannabis industry. Some states currently mandate (both California and Colorado have training requirements for food safety) training.
We recommend that each producer use general food safety rules currently available to ensure a culture of safety, high standards and excellence. The repercussion would be devastating to the nascent regulated market with the possibility of fines, shut downs, license revocation, recalls and the possibility of a foodborne illness outbreak.
Cannabis rules will be different country to country and vary even within different municipalities. As local and national governments catch up to the industry, it’s imperative that self- regulation is a priority. Federal rules will be coming into the industry soon and organizations that are committed to excellence and good manufacturing practices will be ahead of the curve.
Organizations in the cannabis industry can create Standard Operating Procedures and follow Good Manufacturing Practices. Check out detailed standards created by FOCUS (Foundation of Cannabis Unified Standards).
On one level, cannabis may be treated like other ingredients and agricultural products used in food and manufacturing. Of course- with a lot more care, lab testing and ensuring it’s monitored and secure. And, unlike a chef who may taste the soup of the day to determine if it needs more salt, there must never be any consumption of cannabis infused product on a licensed premise.
The FDA has identified 5 key factors that often contribute to food borne illness outbreaks. Businesses must ensure that company procedures and trainings cover how to avoid these risks:
1. Purchasing Food from Unsafe Sources
2. Improper Holding Time and Temperature
3. Inadequate Cooking
4. Improper Cleaning and Sanitizing
5. Poor Personal Hygiene
We’ve had agricultural, manufacturing and food safety rules for decades. Our clients in new markets report back that enforcement and inspectors are learning along with them as cannabis comes out of the shadows.
The world is watching intently as the cannabis industry grows and enters the regulated market.
Our encouragement to people in or wanting to join the cannabis industry is to make a commitment to professionalism, compliance, integrity and playing by the rules.
Article written by Maureen McNamara, Founder and Chief Facilitator of Cannabis Trainers™.
Maureen wants to live in a world where compliance is a smile inducing word and cannabis prohibition is as out of style as the rotary phone.
With 20+ years of professional training experience, she has led thousands of workshops and inspires cannabis industry professionals to create and sell products compliantly and professionally.
Learn more about programs and opportunities with Cannabis Trainers™ at www.CannabisTrainers.com