There are no AOAC Validated Cannabis Methods for Microbial Testing

The Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC) publishes microbiological and chemical standards used globally to promote trade and to facilitate public health and safety. Testing labs trust AOAC-certified testing methods because they have passed a rigorous validation process and results have been repeated in multiple locations.

However, the AOAC has not certified any microbial testing method on cannabis.

But a sales rep from [company] said their method is AOAC certified

Be careful. Some manufacturers are selling food safety testing methods to the cannabis market. Many of those methods are AOAC-certified for a variety of food types, but they have not been approved on cannabis.

If the method works on food, it will work on cannabis, right?

No. Anyone versed in cannabis testing can assure you, if you change the matrix, you must revalidate your technology. One cannot just superimpose the testing techniques from tomatoes onto Cannabis and assume the method’s function. One must revalidate their methods using a given technology on the new matrix. The superimposition of the methods that have been validated in the food industry onto a new matrix like cannabis is a major error and very misleading.

Without AOAC certification, how do I know which method to trust?

Review the manufacturer’s validation data, and conduct your own validation.

The Medicinal Genomics team completed an extensive manufacturer’s validation, demonstrating our method for purifying DNA and detecting microbial contamination on cannabis flower, concentrates, and infused products meets the validation pillars of accuracy, precision, specificity, linearity and limit of detection.

Essentially the document proves:

All the experiments described in the document were conducted in the Medicinal Genomics laboratory, as well as several Independent Cannabis Testing Labs in Massachusetts. Several experiments used live pathogenic microbes and were conducted in Medicinal Genomics’ BioSafety Level 2 Laboratory.  

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