Cannabis test labs and ISO 17025 accreditation

Around the world, ISO—the International Organization for Standardization—is synonymous with standards, and that’s just what the cannabis industry needs. In analytical labs, ISO is like the Good Housekeeping Seal of approval. It means that someone with authority endorses what a lab is doing and, how it does it. Although ISO has published 21,613 International Standards, the most common one sought by cannabis analytical labs is ISO/IEC 17025. According to ISO, this standard “specifies the general requirements for the competence to carry out tests and/or calibrations, including sampling.”

Adequate safety testing for Cannabis is an attainable goal. Many of the existing Cannabis testing laboratories are now well-staffed and well-funded. Competent laboratories will have little difficulty meeting the accreditation criteria used by both the private sector and the governmental regulatory bodies that oversee the laboratories that test our food, soil, medicines, and drinking water. These criteria are consolidated in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) guidelines known as ISO 17025 (General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories), and they are clear, effective, and universally accepted.

The testing of Cannabis must be performed by laboratories that have been able to demonstrate their competence through well-established accreditation mechanisms. Accreditation is a formal recognition by an authoritative third-party of a laboratory’s competence to perform specific tests. This accreditation infrastructure is well established by the mutual recognition arrangement (MRA) among accreditation bodies through the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC). ILAC functions as a forum for harmonizing laboratory and inspection body accreditation procedures and policies, thus promoting accreditation as a mechanism to enhance confidence in testing and inspection facilities.

Multiple resources are also available to assist laboratories in preparing for accreditation. ISO 17025 consultants can be hired to perform a gap analysis on their quality system and various training courses are offered by Accreditation Bodies on the basics of accreditation, internal auditing, root cause analysis, etc.

Scope of Accreditation

ISO 17025 does not specify what methods a laboratory uses. Laboratories must themselves define the methods included within their scope of accreditation. In order for a Cannabis testing laboratory to be fully accredited across all of its relevant methodologies, its scope must include identification and quantitation of those components and potential contaminants relevant to public health. These will fall into the following categories.

  1. Pesticides. These should be tested for using methods based on AOAC Official Method 2007.01 (or on more effective methods when they become available) with a state-mandated subset of the chemicals specified therein. The Cannabis Safety Institute white paper on pesticides will specify a list that laboratories should be required to test for.
  2. Cannabinoids, including, at a minimum, THC, THCA, CBD, and CBDA. This must include extraction methods for dealing with the variety of matrices found in edible products.
  3. Microbiology testing: detection and quantitation of all relevant bacterial and fungal species specified in state guidelines.
  4. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), often referred to as residual solvent testing (for extracts made with hydrocarbon or organic solvents).
  5. Water Activity (a measure of water available to support microbial growth; not substitutable by moisture content measurements).

Most established Cannabis laboratories also test for plant compounds known as terpenes. These are not considered harmful, but in view of their increasing importance and the increasing evidence that they contribute significantly to the characteristics of each Cannabis variety, laboratories should be expected to add these tests to their scope. Cannabis testing laboratories should, of course, also include in their scope any other assay required under state law.

Accreditation

Third-party laboratory accreditation can help to demonstrate that a lab is structured properly, that it has adequate documentation of all of its procedures and quality assurance methods, and that it follows these procedures and methods. Additionally the laboratory must ensure is that it has its test methods in control. One means to achieve this is through the use of proficiency testing using blinded samples provided for analysis. All ISO 17025 accredited laboratories must participate in proficiency testing activities when they are relevant and available.

Accreditation to the internationally accepted ISO 17025 standard for testing laboratories, in combination with a rigorous proficiency testing program, is the proven approach for ensuring the quality and reliability of the vast majority of analytical cannabis laboratories. Paradigm 3 is a compliance management software that manages various facets of your ISO 17025 system such as document control, corrective action, training and competency and calibration.

How Document Control Software Can Improve Your ROI

How Document Control Software Can Improve Your ROI

Any company that hasn’t incorporated a document control software system into their record management must take a look at how it can improve their bottom line. Document management systems can improve the ROI of just about any business since you’ll be creating time and reducing effort along many lines of the organization.

Many companies will benefit in reduced costs from purchasing a document control system. Having software to manage your documents ensure you are confident in meeting your compliance goals. This creates a large saving in efforts to get documents reviewed, approved and released. Saving the cost and frustration of endlessly chasing signatures and results of periodic reviews.

Staff will also be able to work much more efficiently, which equates to more productivity and higher dollar amounts. Less staff may be required when document contol systems are in place since the software can establish routing systems that are defined according to different employees and the services provided.

When there is a lot of data to process with documents, new staff may be required. With management software you may be able to limit or even eliminate new hiring altogether. Documents will be much easier to find due to the software’s state-of-the-art indexing and searching capabilities and will be much easier to process.

At Interax we provide an electronic system for document control that is completely flexible and second-to-none. When you want to reduce the amount of time required to process documents and move them down the line easily, you have come to the right place. Please visit our website today at www.interaxgrp.com to learn more about our management software and how it can bring your business up to the next level.

The ABCs of Document Control Software

Document software streamlines a number of business processes and increases the efficiency of any business. No matter what type of industry or what size it is, management software can offer a lot of relief to businesses in the following ways.

  1. Manage literally thousand of documents and then retrieve the ones that are needed within a matter of seconds
  2. Automate manual processes that are extremely time-consuming and not cost-effective
  3. Protect confidential information
  4. Offer backup for records and files in case of disaster recovery
  5. Provide easy access to documents on mobile devices
  6. Easily share documents with other teams and colleagues

Document management can easily convert records, forms and documents into e-files with the click of a button. As well, the software must be able to provide top-notch security for all documents. The workflow functionality must also be automated to reduce the amount of tedious manual labour required. Folder structures must also be in place to store, organize and archive documents. The structure of these folders must match the needs of the company and must be able to be customized completely.

Documents must remain extremely easy to access from both mobile and desktop computers and employees should be able to edit any and all documents as required from all types of devices. This allows workers to access what they need when they are away from their desks or when they are out of their offices. These days, employees are much more mobile and need the flexibility to work from different areas.

Learn more about our state-of-the-art document management software and how it will meet the specifications required by your company by visiting our website at www.interaxgrp.com. We look forward to introducing you to the only management software you’ll ever need for your important documents.