Keep It Professional: Training for Food Safety in the Cannabis Industry

Posted: Friday, February 2, 2018 by Global Food Safety Resource

By Maureen McNamara

There are many issues in the cannabis food products industry that demand a leader’s attention and food safety should be the Number One priority. Medical cannabis patients, for example, may already be immune-compromised, which puts them at an even greater risk for a foodborne illness. So it’s important to be continually asking if employees are doing everything possible to ensure a safe, wholesome product.

Food Safety in the Cannabis Industry

Cannabis and the products created from it must be handled with the utmost care and diligence, which means that a properly-trained staff is a necessity. Some states, like California and Colorado, currently require food safety training for cannabis food workers. In other jurisdictions, food producers should use the general food safety rules currently available to ensure a culture of safety, high standards, and excellence.

Food Safety Solutions for Edible Cannabis

Cannabis rules differ from country to country and vary even within different municipalities. As local and national governments catch up to the industry, it’s imperative that cannabis food producers make self-regulation and top-notch training procedures 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. It’s a good idea to create Standard Operating Procedures and follow Good Manufacturing Practices. Check out the detailed standards created by the Foundation of Cannabis Unified Standards (FOCUS)

On one level, cannabis may be treated like other ingredients and agricultural products used in food and manufacturing, although with a lot more care, testing, monitoring and security. However, unlike chefs who may taste the soup-of-the-day to determine if it needs more salt, employees need to know that there must never be any consumption of cannabis-infused product on a licensed premise.

Cannabis and Foodborne Illness

The FDA has identified five key factors that often contribute to foodborne illness outbreaks. Cannabis food businesses must ensure that company procedures and training 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

The world is watching intently as the cannabis industry grows and enters the regulated market. If you’re planning to join the cannabis industry, make a commitment to professionalism, compliance, and integrity, and play by the rules. Especially when it comes to training.

About the Author
Maureen McNamara is Founder and Chief Facilitator of Cannabis Trainers™. 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. 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.

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