Because the federal government still considers marijuana illegal, the FDA cannot regulate cannabis-derived products that contain THC, though they are beginning to provide some guidance on products containing CBD only. Instead of receiving concrete guidelines, producers are left to decide how to monitor the safety and standards for their businesses on their own and even decide where their product fits into the market. This begs the question: are cannabis edibles regulated as food or a dietary supplement?
Understanding Cannabis Edibles
First and foremost, producers must grasp that cannabis edibles are classified as food and not supplements. This subsequently changes the way that they must be handled. For example, cannabis edibles need to abide by food safety programs such as Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP).
Without taking the proper steps to follow these programs, cannabis edibles manufacturers run the risk of unwittingly producing unsafe products that could potentially harm consumers. A great deal of testing with a credible lab, the implementation of proper protocols, reducing risk of contamination, and clear labeling are just a few of the things that every manufacturer must do to inspire consumer confidence and ensure the quality of their products.
The Risks Without Cannabis Safety Frameworks
Because the industry lacks critical oversight (including regular audits), cannabis companies run the risk of selling contaminated products containing things like listeria, salmonella, E. coli, and more. Obviously, these are significant concerns that should not be ignored—the FDA may not step in, but legal action can still be taken against companies who produce products that harm consumers.
The problem with the incredible explosion of popularity within the edibles industry is that many companies are tempted to take shortcuts to make more profit. One way to do this is to argue that cannabis edibles fall into the category of supplements, which employ less rigorous food safety practices. Manufacturers producing inferior edibles, or without safety frameworks, may be able to get away with churning out low-grade products from a regulatory standpoint, but they will have a hard time earning repeat business, and the business model will inevitably fail.
The Reality of Cannabis Edibles Production
The reality is that producing edibles is about far more than simply growing cannabis, or even developing a high-quality recipe. Producers hoping to achieve true success in this industry must also be knowledgeable about:
- The risk for environmental contaminants
- How to properly utilize equipment
- Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs)
- How to ensure each staff member is trained
There is no doubt that manufacturing cannabis edibles can be a lucrative endeavor, but it’s more complicated than many people realize.
Edibles are, in fact, food. This means that you must go to great lengths to ensure that they’re fit for consumption, which will take a fair amount of legwork in terms of training.
Without oversight from the FDA, it’s up to manufacturers to take responsibility for the safety of their products. This means that producers need to work doubly hard to stay on top of training so that every part of their process meets food industry standards. Also when federal regulations are enacted, cannabis companies that are prepared to meet requirements will be set up for success and be a step ahead of their competitors.
Food Safety Training for Cannabis
ImEPIK has developed an expert reputation in the food safety training space – now, we’re applying our knowledge to create a 100% online, self-paced program for cannabis food safety. To ensure that you’re adhering to the highest possible standards with your edibles, purchase your cannabis food safety training today.