Quality is the driving factor that keeps our food system safe. In the United States, there is an unspoken trust put into our food system to keep it safe. How does this safety happen? There are systems and procedures that maintain the integrity of the products consumed on a regular basis. Are you interested in learning more about product quality? Learn more about product quality for small businesses inside the Quality for Small Businesses in the Food Industry white paper by filling out the form below.
We outlined some simple guidance steps that can be considered and are essential for quality when it involves cannabis products:
Quality 101 for Cannabis Products
- Licensing – Licensing is a must to be compliant with regulations. What type of licensing is required will be required? Types of licensing to consider are:
- Standard cannabis licensing- adhering to all facility, city, and state regulations, etc. (high capital costs)
- White labeling- Another manufacture produces your product. White labeling is illegal if you don’t own your Cannabis License!
- Type-S, shared licensing- shared-use manufacturing licensing.
- Building Infrastructure and Building Perimeter – meeting building codes and having the proper disposal facilities, building security, and structural controls to secure the quality of the product is mandatory.
- Procedures – How are the documented procedures supporting the quality of the product? Are quality checks being performed hourly? Are procedures functioning to support the quality of the product? How are product samples being handled? In the industry, it is a “No-No” to give samples away. The delicate nature of the product leaves room for scrutiny at every level and can compromise the company if not handled correctly. How are batches identified/controlled?
- Raw Material Sourcing – finding a reputable supplier is key to maintain product quality. Is your supplier registered with METRC? How do they grow or process their CBD? Are they certified? These are some of the questions that should not only be asked but documented.
- Processing – Do the processing steps support the quality of the product? Has the HACCP plan been established and validated? What are the hazards during processing? How are those hazards controlled?
- Testing – mandatory testing is needed for every batch of product to ensure quality and safety. Testing validates THC content and ensures product safety through confirming with testing results.
- Packaging – Every label is required by law to have a batch number/ lot code for traceability, child-resistant packaging, cannabis standardized logo, ingredient statement, THC content level, health warning, allergens, nutrition facts panel (food products), manufacture location, etc. Packaging is constantly changing, and so are regulations! Therefore it is quality 101 to leave room for changes when it involves packaging. The package of today could be the trash of tomorrow!
- Storage -How does the storage support the quality of the product? Is the product being stored per regulations?
- Shipment – Controlled shipment is required. The transporter is required to undergo specialized training to be able to transport product to the consumer. This is a quality process to ensure the safety and quality of the product. In California, the distributor has to undergo registration and training in a system called METRC. This system is designed to track the seed to sale of cannabis. METRC is state-specific; check to see what tracking system is utilized within your region.
- Finances – In the Cannabis realm, there are special regulations on how money is handled on the financial level. There are limited methods in which payments can be taken and given when it involves CBD products. This is an important factor to consider for start-ups. In addition, registration is required to register and file with CDTFA.CA.GOV in California. How do finances affect quality, you may ask? The quality of the product is directly managed from a financial background, and if your money isn’t handled properly, neither is your quality! For example, testing, how are you paying for that?
Authored by: Candice Harris
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