August 22, 2019

Consumers have a right to safe cannabis and cannabis-derived products that are free of pathogens. That was the message that Patrick Bird, Chair of AOAC’s CASP Microbiology in Cannabis and Hemp Working Group, delivered to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cannabis task force at a public hearing on May 31, 2019.

The hearing, Scientific Data and Information about Products Containing Cannabis or Cannabis-Derived Compounds, was held on May 31 to inform the FDA about cannabis and cannabis-derived products, especially with regards to CBD in dietary supplements and other foods.

Susan Audino, Chair of the CASP Chemical Contaminants in Cannabis and Hemp Working Group, testified that the media frenzy around CBD-based products is rapidly expanding the use of unregulated substances that people are ingesting without clear indication of known benefits or risks, and that consumers are at greatest risk from negligent laboratory testing activity.

Bird and Audino were joined at the hearing by AOAC’s Scott Coates, CASP Program Lead. Coates described the CASP program and observed that label claim accuracy for CBD products is a major issue, that reference methods are needed for label claim accuracy of CDB products, and that CASP is a tool to address this critical deficiency.