If you’re interested in creating a CBD finished good such as a gummy, tincture or stick pack, make sure your manufacturing partner follows these important quality and safety guidelines.

The hemp industry can be a challenging field to work in as it’s a young industry with a patchwork of regulations that are quickly evolving. Although there are unique challenges in hemp, instilling and cultivating a strong food safety culture involves similar processes, education and resources used in countless other industries.

From day one, it’s important for manufacturers to prioritize traceability, quality and ensuring that Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) are at the core of all operations. Socati bases its quality system on principles already in existence — looking towards food safety rules and regulations. Socati started with 21CFR110 (GMP for manufacturing, packaging or holding human food) and 21CFR117 (GMP for hazard analysis and risk-based preventative controls for human food) which are the backbone of its operations. Although neither GMP codes were built for hemp, these strict standards for human food should be the minimum requirement for hemp operations.

Looking back at the last few years of industry growth, there have been plenty of dramatic changes in terms of self-regulation. Unlike two or three years ago, GMP-based certifications are required on most approved supplier lists for manufacturers and requested by most buyers who purchase hemp material. Certifications such as Safe Quality Food (SQF) and GMP are common and demonstrate a commitment to food safety culture.

Quality starts at the very beginning with selecting raw materials. It’s important to source materials that have been thoroughly tested and validated so the quality of hemp ingredients used in any product or formulation will remain a top priority. Hemp companies, at all ends of the supply chain, should value quality and only work with established ingredient suppliers who can deliver:

  • Third party lab testing — Testing is essential to retain trust, traceability and transparency with suppliers and partners.
  • Documentation — Ensuring hemp extracts come with COAs (Certificate of Analysis) ensures testing is done for pesticides, heavy metals and other harmful chemicals to prove purity and traceability of materials.
  • Manufacturing practices — Compliance with GFSI and GMP standards ensures brands receive the highest quality and most reliable cannabinoid ingredients that consumers demand.
  • USDA organic — The market for organic and natural products is growing so seeking a manufacturer who holds this certification is a must.

The commitment to continuous improvement

Cultivating a food safety culture requires buy-in from everyone within an organization, but especially from those in a leadership position. Culture is created from the top-down. A committed executive team is important to cultivate a strong food safety program. The support needed from an executive team is one of engagement and providing access to the right resources for success. Values such as collaboration and doing things the “right” way are key components to fostering a positive food safety culture. It’s also important that the executive team is also looking at new technologies to keep innovating.

Leadership teams should also recognize that SQF and GMP helps everyone within an organization do their jobs more efficiently and effectively. Maintaining proper standard operating procedures (SOPs), records and other vital documentation is in the best interests of every department. For example, traceability, batch records and tracking inventory will help operations and accounting teams work more productively. Regular cleaning and completing preventative maintenance will help to keep hardware and machines in proper working condition which increases efficiencies with production teams. Product documentation, SOPs and training records are important to support a food safety culture, but also to a safety-based culture as well. Organization charts, job descriptions and role-based training are valued by HR, while sales teams need up-to-date specification sheets and product documentation to share with prospects and clients. It’s easy to see how this top-down commitment quickly turns into a corporate culture with far-reaching benefits to all.

Quality is a culture important for the hemp industry as a whole. Pushing team members to continually find innovative ways to look ahead and stay on top of current trends is important. This forward-thinking approach will only help to improve the quality of products manufactured today.

With advancements in technology and industry breakthroughs happening daily, the job to champion food safety culture is never complete. Hemp operators must always be on the lookout for better or more innovative ways to improve products and processes, and teams should never be satisfied with a simple “yes” or “no” answer. Becoming a leader in quality means always asking tough questions and opening up to the idea that a path to continuous improvement never ends. In this line of work, there’s always more to the story.

To learn how Socati can be your trusted finished good manufacturing partner, send us a message at sales@socati.com today.