The importance of testing for microbial contamination in cannabis and infused products cannot be over-emphasized. At TEQ we know the cost of your product is expensive. Our extensive experience in microbiological testing allows us to be efficient in collecting minimal sample volume while obtaining reliable scientific results. However applying these methods to new lower sample volumes, unexperienced by the microbiology industry previously, TEQ must prove the tests are reliable. Therefore TEQ has used AOAC and FDA validation and verification protocols in accordance with ISO 17025 requirements to prove that our tests are statistically valid and effective. Our rigorous validation procedures combined with cutting edge technologies provide for efficient turnaround time with reliable results. TEQ Analytical Laboratories analyzes for the three State of Colorado required Microbiological Contaminants; STEC, Sal, and Yeast and Mold.
Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli (STEC)
These types of E. coli are a specific form of pathogenic E. coli that can cause food borne illness in humans.
TEQ Analytical Laboratories Screens for STEC E. coli with a method called Rapid Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR).
Our STEC result is a Positive/Absence test result. Our assay tells you if it’s there or not, but does not yield a quantifiable value.
Salmonella are also a type of bacteria that can cause food borne illness in humans called Salmonellosis.
Salmonella is a huge problem in the United States and its estimated to cause over one million food-borne illnesses each year.
This method is also performed via PCR. Our STEC result is a Positive/Absence test result. Our assay tells you if it’s there or not, but does not yield a quantifiable value.
Yeast and Mold (YAM)
Yeast and Mold are typically used as an indicator for other contaminants and a gauge for general overall cleanliness of a product. Lots of different types of yeast and mold are prevalent in our environment and some levels of yeast and mold are typically present in about everything. Additionally, certain types of yeast and mold can be more hazardous than others. The State of Colorado allows for a maximum of 10^4 or 10,000 Colony Forming Units (CFUs) per sample. TEQ’s test results is reported as a quantitative result. We will let you know whether or not yeast and mold is present in the product and provide an estimation of the number of bacteria present.
Raw Materials & Other Ingredients/Supplies
It is important not only to test the product you are manufacturing for these microbiological contaminants, but it is also important to test your raw materials, plant materials and other ingredients to ensure that they are not contaminated upon entering your facility, potentially causing a positive result in your product and potentially causing contamination in your facility. If you are not going to test them then ensure that your vendor is sending you certificates of analysis that verify the product’s cleanliness.
Other important aspects to ensuring you are properly managing your food safety risk are:
Environmental Analysis: The environmental cleanliness of a facility can have a significant impact on the product’s being produced in the facility. If the facility is not kept clean and regularly maintained, unsanitary conditions can find their way into nooks, crannies, cracked plastics, walls, etc and can create opportunities for food pathogens and other bacteria to grow and fester, which then could end up contaminating food preparation surfaces, raw ingredients, and even your finished product.
For instance, if you have standing water in your facility that is harboring salmonella and you run a push cart through this standing water, and the push cart is moved around your facility that push cart could have cross contaminated other areas your facility. By providing our clients with Swabs, Sponges, and environmental monitoring plates, TEQ can analyze areas in the facility, and in many cases high risk areas, that might lead to contaminated products and a recall.
By building and implementing the proper facilities monitoring program, companies can add an important part of their pest and microbiological surveillance programs.
Sanitation, processing and packaging operations are areas where microbial testing can provide key information to ensure a safe product is being distributed. From unintentional introduction of pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella, to mold contamination of final product, every step of the process can be monitored and managed by microbial testing programs.