“I had become increasingly frustrated with the amount of focus placed on hemp farmers to test for THC compliance, while absolutely no attention was being paid to the unregulated retail market,” said MHFMA Program Director Matthew Kaiser. “While many consumers and government officials have fears of unintentional consumption of THC, the real and more concerning problem to public health is the potential for contamination by heavy metals, pesticides, microbials, molds and toxins. Until we have FDA regulation on these products, manufacturers are given little guidance as to how to label their products and can put whatever they want in them without testing for these dangers to public health.”
64% of tested CBD products delivered less than the advertised amount of CBD
An array of CBD products including vape pens, edibles, tinctures, hemp flowers, topical lotions, pills, capsules and more were tested. MHFMA found 64% of products had greater than a 20?viation of CBD content from the stated label, a threshold at which the USDA classifies supplements as misbranded. Strikingly, some products were found to contain no CBD at all, while others contained nearly three times the stated amount. The findings were consistent with results from similar studies that randomly tested CBD levels of retail products.
In addition to having inconsistent levels of CBD, 33% of products sampled tested positive for pesticides or heavy metals — contaminants that post a threat to human health.
From the broken promises of safety and efficacy, a regulatory committee is born
The results of the testing signaled a clear need for scrutiny and oversight of CBD products to protect consumers and the CBD brands that hold themselves to higher standards. As such, the Minnesota Hemp Farmers & Manufacturers Association is actively working to form a retail and consumer safety committee, comprising a voluntary board of manufacturers and retailers. The vision for the committee is to improve transparency in the hemp industry in Minnesota by conducting extensive 3rd party testing, supporting the development of industry standards to protect consumers, and creating a seal of approval for those retailers and producers who meet established standards. MHFMA is also interested in building out a retail cooperative in association with the committee, providing discounts for group analytics testing and bulk branding, as well as banking, legal and insurance services to give Minnesota retailers a competitive edge. The first organization to join the committee is Minnesota brand Nothing but Hemp.
“Nothing But Hemp is committed to improving the health and wellness of its customers and fighting to ensure safe, high-quality CBD is available to everyone,” said Steven Brown, CEO of Nothing but Hemp. “We’ve experienced the inconsistency of the CBD industry firsthand. We’ve worked with many well-known and industry-leading suppliers, and in one case, had to end a relationship because the products did not contain what they purported to. The industry needs greater transparency, and it’s incumbent upon retailers to support industry processes to protect their customers from misleading or harmful products. We’re proud to be working with the Minnesota Hemp Farmers & Manufacturers Association.”
“The boom of the CBD and hemp industries provide huge opportunities to companies and consumers alike — especially in Minnesota” said Matthew Kaiser. “But the results of these tests show how dire the need is for regulatory oversight and comprehensive testing to protect consumers and the brands that put safety first. If these inconsistent CBD products were being regulated by the USDA they would be classified as misbranded. The state has failed to take the lead here, so we’re forming this committee to give Minnesotans — whether they’re customers or business owners — an edge in the CBD industry.”
Kaiser, Matthew. “Testing Finds Inconsistent Dosing, Signals Need for Self-Regulation.” MHFMA, 17 June 2020, www.mhfma.mn/testing-finds-inconsistent-dosing/.
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