Pesticide Challenges & Solutions

Posted by Max Brown on

Unraveling the intricacies of pesticide use in agriculture and the evolving regulatory guidelines imposed by Federal and State agencies is a daunting task. We’re here to help you navigate the issue with answers to some of our customers most frequently asked questions and tips on what to keep an eye on. Here’s what you need to know.

State Limits Are Not the Same as FDA/EPA Federal Limits

In those states where cannabis is legal, manufacturers are required to meet their state specific regulatory guidelines surrounding pesticides. Each state decides its own allowable limit for pesticides, and in almost all instances they are significantly more stringent than the FDA/EPA limits. An example of this is Chlorpyrifos. The FDA/EPA places an allowable limit of 20ppm in citrus oil vs an allowable limit of .2ppm in most states that regulate cannabis. This means that state limits are 100x more stringent than FDA/EPA limits! 

Organic Doesn’t Always Mean Organic—or Pesticide-free

True certified organic materials are required to be grown without the use of any pesticides. Unfortunately, many fall victim to claims of being certified organic that lack USDA certification. However, even certified organic doesn’t fully alleviate all pesticide concerns, as organic crops can be contaminated by pesticides blowing over from adjacent fields. Additionally, organic materials are considerably more expensive and not always an option due to limited availability.

Some Products Have Higher Risk of Pesticide Exposure

In our example, we mentioned citrus oil. From our experience orange, lemon and citrus products are often at the greatest risk pesticide exposure. So citrus buyers, be aware.

A Component May Be Above State Limits, but Your End Product May Not Be

Using a component with a tested number over your state’s allowable limit may seem like a non-starter, but you should always consider the percentage of the component used in your end product. Components designed to be effective at low add back rates can help you stay under your state’s limit. 

So What Do We Do?

The isolated essential oil and terpene materials that we source are manufactured to meet FDA/EPA regulatory guidelines. Unfortunately, we cannot yet go to a citrus oil producer and convince them to lower their limited pesticide usage so they can sell us the quality of material that is demanded by state regulators. Given the overall limited size of the legalized cannabis space, no farmer would accommodate the request at the scale required.

Our existing protocols to limit product exposure include thoroughly testing all products for pesticides. Any products that test hot for a pesticide are put through a reformulation process using USDA certified organic material. Even with all of these precautions, we have gone a step further and have restricted the purchase of products that continue to have pesticide issues so that we may have these discussions with our customers before they buy. These restricted items will be batch tested until we are confident that we have corrected the issues to the extent possible.

Be assured that our goal is to build the highest quality products on the market without compromising your customers safety. We always have been, and will always be, as transparent as possible about our products and the limitations in safely meeting market demands.

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