Why Is Microbiology Testing Important?
- Microbial contaminants can cause illness and potentially death for patients with compromised immune systems. Washington state requires that all marijuana is tested for microbial contamination.
- Microbial contaminants can affect your grow or production facility, resulting in deteriorated and low-quality product and substantial loss of revenue.
The safety and health of consumers is of utmost importance to responsible cannabis businesses. Effective quality control leads to higher profits and sustainable production. It is the growers’ responsibility to ensure their product is safe; failure to do so could result in financial ruin. Testing Technologies Inc. is committed to ensuring that all cannabis in the recreational and medical markets is safe and free from contamination.
Our microbiologists are trained and experienced in the detection and identification of bacteria, molds, and toxins that can cause deterioration of plants, spoilage of edibles, and illness for the consumer.
Testing Technologies Inc. uses the latest technology in microbiology. We are capable of providing rapid analysis and fast turnaround of samples.
I-502 Microbiology Panel
This panel includes all the organisms that Washington state requires. We offer our microbiology panel individually to all I-502 and medical producers and processors. These tests are also included in our full I-502 panel. For additional microbiological services, please contact us.
- E. coli – Escherichia coli (abbreviated as E. coli) are a large and diverse group of bacteria that primarily live in the intestines of humans and animals. Most strains of E. coli are harmless, but others can cause severe illness. I-502 regulations require that E. coli is not detected in the sample.
- Enterobacteriaceae – This is a large group of of organisms that encompasses approximately 20 genera, including the food-borne pathogens Salmonella, Shigella, and Yersinia. Enterobacteriaceae may be superior to coliforms as indicators of sanitation practices, because collectively they have a greater resistance to the environment than do coliforms. I-502 regulations require an Enterobacteriaceae count of 10,000 CFU/g or fewer for flower, or 1,000 CFU/g or fewer for non-solvent-based extracts, such as kief or hash.
- Salmonella – Environmental sources of Salmonella include water, soil, insects, factory surfaces, kitchen surfaces, and animal feces. All age groups are susceptible, but symptoms are most severe in the elderly, infants, and infirm. I-502 regulations require that Salmonella are not detected in the sample.
- Aflatoxins – Certain molds produce carcinogens and mutagens called aflatoxins, which are among the most carcinogenic substances known to man. Exposure to aflatoxins has been positively linked to an increased risk of liver failure, liver cancer, and gallbladder cancer. At Testing Technologies Inc., we test for Aflatoxins B1, B2, G1, and G2, as per I-502 guidelines. I-502 regulations require an aflatoxin count of 20 μg/kg or fewer.
- Ochratoxins – These mycotoxins are produced by several species of fungi, and have been implicated in kidney failure and in kidney tumors. They are also suspected carcinogens and may be responsible for kidney cancer. At Testing Technologies Inc., we test for Ochratoxin A, as per I-502 guidelines. I-502 regulations require an ochratoxin count of 20 μg/kg or fewer.
- Aerobic Plate Count (APC) – This test results in an enumeration of the total aerobic bacterial population of a sample. No bacterial identifications are made; however, the resulting colony forming unit (CFU) can be applied to internal acceptance criteria for a product or environmental samples. This is also a useful test to gauge freshness of a product or to validate sanitation procedures. To be compliant with I-502 regulations, your APC count must be 100,000 CFU/g or less.
- Yeast & Mold – Both yeasts and molds cause various degrees of deterioration and decomposition of cannabis and cannabis edibles. Several molds, and possibly several yeasts, may also be hazardous to human or animal health because of their ability to produce toxic metabolites known as mycotoxins. Most mycotoxins are stable compounds that are not destroyed by processing or when cannabis is smoked. Although most food-borne fungi are not infectious, some species can cause infection, especially in immunocompromised populations, such as the aged and debilitated, HIV-infected individuals, and persons receiving chemotherapy or antibiotic treatment.
- Total Coliforms – Coliforms are commonly used as an indicator organism. They are found in lakes, streams, and soil as well as in the digestive tract of humans and animals. While coliforms themselves are not normally causes of serious illness, their presence is used to indicate that other pathogenic organisms of fecal origin may be present. I-502 regulations require that samples show a total coliform count of 1,000 CFU/g or less.