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In an article published last Friday, The Denver Post created an interactive map of the city that shows cannabis consumers what cannabis-infused edible businesses have been cited for health violations so far in 2014. At first glance, the numbers seem shocking: there have 237 food safety violations that could be related to foodborne illnesses and 53 violations that did not carry risk of foodborne illness (noncritical violations). These violations have happened at 107 different cannabis edible facilities so far in 2014.
It’s made clear, however, that while the number of violations sounds alarming, it is actually on par with those found in businesses making similar products without the cannabis infusion. The original article quotes an official from the county health department, essentially assuring customers that their cannabis edibles are as safe as a locally baked brownie without any cannabinoids in it.
The Post quotes Danica Lee, the manager of the Denver Department of Environmental Health’s food-safety section as saying;
“It’s important to give a little bit of context for what those numbers mean because they can sound alarming. We’re seeing pretty consistent violations for what you’d expect from businesses that make similar products that don’t have marijuana in them.”
What does that mean? It means there’s a margin of error any time a human does something. It also means that there’s room for growth and improvement in the edible industry, something many industry leaders already acknowledge. There are also some issues with standard processes for cannabis having been developed far from regulated commercial kitchens. In time, with training and trial and error, the cannabis edible industry will likely outperform its conventional peers in terms of food safety. After all, many of these businesses are still relatively new and are performing at a safety level consistent with mainstream manufactured food products.
The companies with five or more critical food safety violations were:
Mile High Wellness/Green Street
IVXX Infuzion/Rocky Mountain Caregivers/Green Solution
Green Cross Colorado
Advanced Medical Alternatives
Keens Greens Edibles
If you want to see a full list of companies, you can actually interact with a map of the city of Denver that shows where all the violations took place and scroll through a breakdown of which companies had how many and what kind of violations (and whether or not they were critical or noncritical) at the bottom of the original article in The Denver Post. There are several well-known edible companies on the list, but a few violations in a facility that produces thousands of units a month isn’t any higher risk than in the standard food product industry. Many of the citations can be remedied with basic training for staff members.
For previous Ladybud Magazine coverage of edibles and medibles, click here.
Photo Credit: City of Vancouver Archives under (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr