COA Series: Canna Companion Testing SOP

In our previous articles we discussed the importance of some of the tests that we run during our manufacturing process. Today, we hope to give you a clear view of just how seriously we take your pet’s health by giving you a view of the frequency at which we perform these tests, as well as describing what some of the other tests cover. As always, we want you to feel safe and confident in choosing Canna Companion for your beloved pets. 

There are several stages during our process at which we test our ingredients. For these purposes, the stages we are discussing are as follows: Primary ingredients, Pro-ingredients and Final Products.  We release the COA for our Final Products, but due to proprietary concerns, the Primary and Pro-ingredients COAs are only for internal use. 

 

Primary Ingredients

This category encompasses all materials in a form which can either be utilized as received or must undergo varying processing modalities before moving into the category of Pro-ingredients. Upon admittance into the facility, primary ingredients are stored in our quarantine area and not released until satisfactory results on the following tests are received. If any material fails any one test, it is never put into production and new ingredients are ordered. Failed ingredients are disposed of per individual requirements. 

  • Residual Solvent Analysis (RSA) – We do not use any primary ingredients manufactured with hydrocarbons, such as butane, naphthalene, hexane, or pentane. We use products derived from CO2 extraction. Ethanol is often used as a wash to remove excess plant waxes, but we ensure the ethanol is either eliminated or well below our medically derived cut-off level in this ingredient category. This is a contractual requirement from our vendors before shipment.
  • Mycotoxin – This is a fungal toxin which develops in improperly stored and handled corn and other crops, and can potentially enter the ingredient chain via contaminated ethanol. Similar to residual solvents, suppliers are contractually obligated to provide mycotoxin levels which are below 20 ppb. This means once a primary ingredient is processed, final mycotoxin levels are even lower or undetectable. 
  • Pesticides – We test for residual pesticides. It is a set panel offered by our certified state laboratory. Only a test result of “ND” (none detected) is acceptable for internal specifications. 
  • Heavy Metals – We have been testing our primary ingredients for heavy metals as soon as our third-party laboratory began offering it (about 1 yr ago). Washington state does not require heavy metal testing on all products, and state certified testing laboratories where slow to adopt as a result. Now that it is offered at our primary certified laboratory, the panel will be run on all product categories.
  • Microbial – We test for the most common pathogens for our patient population, including E. coli & Salmonella as well as for Enterobacter species. E. coli & Salmonella must test negative. Enterobacter concentrations are allowed in trace amounts as standard tests do not differentiate between pathogenic (disease-causing) and non-pathogenic (commensal, non-disease producing) organisms. If concerned, we send a product sample to bacterial identification and proceed from there.  
  • Potency & terpene – These tests determine the overall concentrations of detectable phytocannabinoids and terpenes. We maintain strict ratios between cannabinoids and require terpene contents to remain within specified ranges. Neither test is 100% accurate and some variation is anticipated. That said, we ensure THC levels are <0.3%, individual and total terpene levels are within appropriate physiological ranges (likely to assist the ECS and unlikely to do harm) and all values are consistent with internal calculations. 

Pro-Ingredients

These are ingredients that we manufacture in-house. They are made from Primary ingredients and are the products of several multistage processes. These intermediary products, when finished, are ready to be used for final production. At this step, we retest everything as above, making sure a contaminant didn’t get into the production line or that human error is caught before final products are ready for your pet. If any material fails any one of the following tests, follow up tests are performed; if an ingredient fails follow up testing, it is destroyed. All ingredients awaiting test results are kept in quarantine to ensure the production stream remains clean. 

Final Products

These are the finished products, which are sold to clients. At this step, we perform one more round of testing and treat the same as primary and pro ingredients: if it fails initial testing, additional tests are run; if it doesn’t pass, then the product is destroyed. 

 

What Do These Tests Mean?

As you can see, we take your pet’s safety very seriously, repeating tests at multiple stages to ensure that no contaminants are present to begin with nor are introduced in the manufacturing process. Several of these tests are not required by any regulatory agency. We want to ensure that we provide you with nothing but the very best.

What is it, though, that all of these tests cover? Besides the obvious – making sure ingredients and final products are free of harmful chemicals for your pet – results help us maintain Good Manufacturing Practices. Our employees are proud to hold WA State Food Safety cards, and work hard to ensure a clean and safe manufacturing environment. We share test results with them so they have proof all their efforts pay off. Everyone at Canna Companion is committed to producing high quality products with your pets in mind.   

 

We hope this gives you a better insight into the precautions that we take in order to ensure that we are providing you with the safest possible product. In the future, we intend to cover what constitutes a true whole plant or full spectrum product versus a single only or near full spectrum product.

COA Series: Potency & Terpenes

Our primary goal, here at Canna Companion, is your pet’s wellness. As you’ve been able to see, we do a lot of testing to ensure everything we make is safe for your furry family member. Along with the many possible contaminants, we also test for potency and terpenes to make sure your pet’s endocannabinoid system will be well supported by our products. In our penultimate article of this series on Certificates of Analysis (COAs), we cover this final set of testing performed on all of our products. As a reminder, the other tests we run include the following:

This last set of tests covers many different compounds. For our purposes, though, we are going to focus on the cannabinoids CBD & THC, and overall terpene content. There are a number of reasons we test for these things; most importantly, we want to ensure that the makeup of our products is appropriate to provide the support that we promise. Knowing the amount of CBD, ratio of CBD to THC, and the terpene content are all important in making sure that our products are aligned with recommended administration guidelines. This way we can demonstrate that your pet’s endocannabinoid system is receiving compounds for optimum support.

Testing for such compounds is not straight forward as there are problems within the cannabis testing industry. While HPLC (high-performance liquid chromatography) is the preferred method for potency & GC (gas-chromatography) ideal for terpenes, significant variation occurs between testing facilities. During our many years in business, we have developed several different ways in which we limit such variation:

  • Routine testing through our primary cannabis testing laboratory
  • Comparison of test results with formulation calculations dating back more than a decade 
  • Quarterly ring tests with secondary and tertiary testing facilities 
  • Retesting of any sample whose initial test results fall outside of standard deviation

In addition to making sure our products remain consistent and within internal specifications, these tests are important to demonstrate regulatory compliance. All of our CBD is derived from hemp, in accordance with federal law. THC content must be below 0.3% and we verify this, maintaining extensive records. You can feel confident knowing that our products are legal in all 50 states. (For more information regarding hemp cultivation legislation, click here.)

 

In our next article, we’ll be wrapping up this series with information on what tests we perform on which ingredients at different stages during our manufacturing process. We want you to feel completely confident in your choice of Canna Companion. If, at any time, you would like to see a copy of our COA, you may do so by contacting Customer Service.

 

 

COA Series: Microbial

Our furry companions make our families whole, so we always want to ensure we’re providing them with the best care available. It can be challenging to analyze whether a product is a good choice, though. Where was it made? What with? How do they ensure safety? That’s why we’re going over Certificates of Analysis (COAs) to show you what information can be found on them. This gives you another tool with which to protect your pet. In this entry in the series, we’ll be discussing microbials. As a reminder, the tests that we do at multiple stages in our manufacturing process are as follows:

Why do we run several sets of tests? It would certainly be less costly to simply test the ingredients, after all. As we’ve discussed previously, current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs) establish baseline standards and ensure that the potential for contamination is minimized. When we test during different stages, this allows us to analyze whether all these practices are working as intended. This also assures you that you’re getting the very best for your animal companion.

The microbes tested for in Canna Companion products belong to the enterobacteriaceae family. These are gram negative bacteria which reside in the intestines of animals and can readily be found within the environment.. Many of them are a part of the normal gut flora of animals, but there are also a number of familiar, disease-causing strains including Escherichia coli and Salmonella

As you are likely aware, these coliform bacteria can cause both gastro-intestinal and extra-intestinal infections in cats, dogs, and people. Most of these are presence/absence tests where any detection in a sample means failure. Because of the potential human health risk, E. coli and Salmonella quantities must remain below detectable levels. Other members of the enterobacteriaceae family are non-pathogenic or low grade opportunistic bacteria. This means they are either not known to cause disease, or may do so under the right circumstances and levels. These bacteria are commonly found within the GI tracts of healthy dogs and cats

 

The health and wellbeing of your animals is our primary purpose. We want to ensure you have the knowledge and tools to protect them no matter what food or supplement you are considering for them. If you have questions or if there are parts of the industry you would like to know more about, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We may cover your topic in a future post.

 

COA Series: Pesticides

When shopping for food we’ll often note whether or not something is organically grown knowing that, among other things, this protects us from most pesticides. How many of us do the same when we are selecting items such as lotions, cosmetics, or supplements? When those supplements are for our pets, knowing whether or not they contain pesticides is critical. In this latest entry in our series about the testing that we do and what information you can find on a Certificate of Analysis, we’re discussing pesticides.

As a refresher, we test for the following:

 

Pesticide Testing

At all stages of our process (primary ingredients, pro-ingredients, and final products) we test for residual pesticides via a set panel performed by a certified state laboratory. Pesticides are obvious toxins, classified by their actions and levels of toxicity at various dosages. They can be introduced into hemp products via farming practices and extractor processes; a contaminated water supply is also a concern as it can allow highly toxic chemicals to travel long distances

This map shows estimated concentrations of atrazine in shallow groundwater beneath agricultural land. Atrazine use is one of the most important factors used to predict atrazine and deethylatrazine concentrations in groundwater (right). Within areas of high atrazine use, groundwater residence time, soil permeability, and other factors explain some of the differences in predicted concentrations. From USGS Circular 1360.

 

Often people think that if something is naturally derived, it is safer. This is not always the case. Pyrethrins, common pesticides derived from the chrysanthemum, can be extremely dangerous, even deadly to cats. Similarly, organic is not necessarily pesticide-free, though the opposite can be true. And to make it more complicated, no single laboratory can test for all possible pesticides, and one has to rely on regulatory agencies to ensure nothing toxic at low doses leaches through into the environment or test sample. Allowable levels in our and our pets’ water supply may not be safe when orally absorbed in a solid or oil-based liquid. 

If you combine this with the fact that when compounds like CBD are extracted from hemp, any pesticides used on the plant or within the water supply are then concentrated, it becomes very clear why this testing must be performed. A chemical that is safe for adult humans in tiny amounts, then concentrated and given to a child or pet who are much smaller could be extremely hazardous. Many pesticides can exacerbate existing health problems or even cause new ones. They can be carcinogenic, teratogenic, hepatotoxic, neurotoxic, nephrotoxic, and potentially disrupt hormones, the endocrine system, and the immune system. 

Most of the commonly used pesticides in the cannabis industry fall under Category 3, 4, or 5 WHO classification scheme. This means they “may be harmful,” are “harmful,” or are “toxic if swallowed,” based on dosages which caused harm in 50% of rat test subjects (LD50). Many of the chemicals do not have LD50’s for cats, dogs, or even humans. Others have veterinary-based applications and are commonly applied topically (ex. imidacloprid and pyrethrins/pyrethrins) or given orally (ex. spinosad) for flea control.

Because of the potential risk to cats and dogs of all sizes, we test multiple times to ensure that any residual pesticides are below the level we have determined to be safe, typically “none detected” (ND) or in trace amounts. Trace amounts to us means an estimated amount which is greater than the Lower Limit of Detection (LLOD)  but less than the LLOQ. The LLOD is the lowest amount that the method can detect and the LLOQ the lowest amount that the method can quantify. Our reasoning? Such levels are usually secondary to environmental contamination and is one reason we check local water testing results, cross-referencing them with Washington state cannabis testing parameters and our internal specifications.  

We believe in full transparency at Canna Companion and want you satisfied your pet is receiving the very best. You deserve to know what is, and is not, in our products before you give them to your pet. Contact us today for a copy of our batch-tracked Certificates of Analysis!

COA Series: Mycotoxins

Pets are important members of our families and we always want to ensure we’re giving them the very best. There are reviews, consumer reports, and more that we can look at to help us determine these things, but sometimes it’s just not enough information. Other times, that information is presented in a manner that isn’t readily accessible to the layperson. That is why we here at Canna Companion are breaking down the details of what can be found on a Certificate of Analysis and why those tests are important. 

In part two of our Certificate of Analysis (COA) Series, we detail mycotoxin testing. In our last article, we discussed the importance of Residual Solvent Analyses (RSA) in making sure chemical toxins leftover from cannabis compound extract processes are absent or well-below toxic levels for cats and dogs. One of those solvents, which is quite easy to remove from end products, is ethanol. Most ethanol on the market is made from corn, some of which comes from crops contaminated with mycotoxin producing organisms.

Canna Companion values the health of our patients above all else. Throughout this series, we provide insight into our testing procedures which often exceeds federal testing requirements to better protect the welfare of your pet. As a reminder, tests run on ingredients and final products include:

 

Mycotoxins, like aflatoxin and ochratoxin, are a group of natural, highly toxic byproducts of some Aspergillus and Penicillium fungi. These toxins develop when certain crops are improperly stored at temperature and humidity levels that perpetuate fungal growth. The risk increases with environmental stress to crops such as drought or insect damage, improper field management, and inappropriate handling. Crops known to be affected by fungal contamination include corn, peanuts, rice, soybeans, wheat, and oats. The organisms and their secondary metabolites, mycotoxins, are so ubiquitous that approximately 25% of the world’s food supply is contaminated, causing death in human and non-human animals.

Aflatoxins can be immunosuppressive and carcinogenic, damage the liver, cause anemia, and more, even at extremely low levels. They are fat soluble and easily absorbed from the GI tract of dogs and cats. A little over a decade ago, hundreds of dogs died from liver failure due to eating commercial dry dog food contaminated with aflatoxin.  Ochratoxin is less common, but just as deadly, also causing cancer and usually targeting the kidneys. There is very little which can be done once toxicity occurs, but fortunately a lot which can be done to prevent contamination in the first place. It all starts with testing.  

 

Why is mycotoxin testing vital?

Ethanol, CO2, and butane/propane are currently the most common extraction solvents utilized in the Cannabis industry. Ethanol is often made by fermenting corn. Mycotoxins, if present, survive the fermentation process. When this mycotoxin-contaminated ethanol is used in the processing of any Cannabis products the mycotoxin is transferred to them.

Unfortunately, most poor-quality, damaged, and improperly stored corn is diverted into ethanol production. While mycotoxins do survive fermentation and distillation processes, they should only be measurable in the solid co-products, not the liquid alcohol. Any ethanol product contaminated with mycotoxin is likely the result of improper distillation, filtration, and cleaning techniques. As a general rule, since human and pet food companies place large orders, they get to choose the quality of corn they purchase. They do not wittingly purchase contaminated grain.  Reputable companies make sure the corn they use meets or exceeds FDA action levels. 

Because mycotoxins are not concentrated in ethanol, it is acceptable to test for them only at the corn harvesting stage. Testing of ethanol is not required by any regulatory agency. Restrictions are, however, placed on acceptable quantities of mycotoxins found in the corn used to make grain alcohols. FDA Action Levels are as follows, based on intended use of the corn.

FDA Action Levels for Aflatoxins

Commodity Level (ppb)
Milk 0.5
All feedstuff other than corn 20
All products, except milk, designated for humans 20
Corn for immature animals & dairy cattle 20
Corn for breeding beef cattle, swine & mature poultry 100
Corn for finishing swine 200
Corn for finishing beef cattle 300
Cottonseed meal (as feed ingredient) 300

 

Cats and dogs are especially susceptible to the effects of mycotoxins, and while the lethal dose (>300 pbb) is far greater than what is allowed in non-milk products, severe illness can occur with chronic low dose exposure. That susceptibility is, in part, dependent upon factors such as genetics, age, hormonal and nutritional status, and concurrent disease. As a result, if a company making products for cats or dogs utilizes ethanol extracted or washed products in any ingredient, both that ingredient and the final product should be tested for aflta- and ochratoxins.  

To protect the health of your pet, Canna Companion requires all ingredients, pro-ingredients, and finished products have total mycotoxin levels limited to 0-19 ppb. We are medical professionals and understand the adverse medical implications these fungal-based contaminants pose for our patient population. We strive to provide products which are clean and consistent, relying on rigorous testing practices to help fulfill that objective.  

COA Series: Introduction & RSA

As pet parents, we are naturally concerned with ensuring that any product or supplement we give to our pets is safe for them. Often, however, we have very limited access to information about anything beyond the ingredients of a product. While reviewing ingredients is very important, it only gives us a snapshot of what a company does in order to help ensure our pets’ safety and can sometimes leave us wanting more information. To that end, we would like to offer you an idea of what kinds of tests we run during the manufacturing process at Canna Companion and how these help protect your pet. 

We send samples to local, third-party, state-certified, cannabis testing laboratories during multiple stages throughout our processes. Each sample is tested for a variety of chemicals to make sure no toxins are present and that compounds like CBD and THC are within product specifications. In our Certificate of Analysis (COA) Series, we will detail what those tests mean with regard to your pet, beginning with Residual Solvent Analysis (RSA). Our final article in this series reviews Canna Companion testing procedures on all primary and pro-ingredients as well as the final product.

Tests run on ingredients and final products include:

  • Residual Solvent Analysis 
  • Mycotoxin
  • Pesticides
  • Heavy Metals
  • Microbial
  • Potency & Terpenes 

 

Residual Solvent Analyses detect minute levels of hydrocarbon and non-hydrocarbon solvents used in the extraction processes of a wide variety of Cannabis products. Residual hydrocarbon solvents are potentially damaging to cardiac muscle in trace amounts. They can impart immunosuppressive and abnormal immunostimulatory effects in extremely small concentrations. Some compounds cause hepatic, renal, and neurotoxicity, and should be avoided in any patient population with these underlying pathologies or susceptibilities. Ethanol and its derivatives appear better tolerated, though can still pose health risks at higher quantities.  

Residual solvents are the byproducts of nearly all extraction processes. Even ‘solventless’ extractions, like CO2, can result in residual chemicals lingering in the final product. This is usually due to post-extraction ethanol washes designed to remove plant waxes. Several techniques can be used to remove solvents from end products; the most effective of these is vacuum extraction, set at temperatures specific to the solvent used. RSA are a critical element of cannabis testing simply to ensure any impurities are absent or well-below toxic levels for the intended species. A small amount of these solvents in a product for a human sized patient is probably not harmful and each state sets limits regarding what is acceptable based on their data and risk assessments.  

In our patient population, however, the concentration of these contaminants is important because of the size of the patient exposed. A small amount of solvent concentrated in a smaller patient can more readily impart adverse effects. Furthermore, many of the breakdown metabolites produced by the metabolism of hydrocarbons are toxic as well, meaning they continue to impart toxic effect and can reside in the system for an extended period. Ethanol can be effectively and completely removed from any material on which it is used, with minimal effort, and is better tolerated in trace amounts when compared to other hydrocarbon solvents.

 

To avoid the potential adverse events from residual hydrocarbons, it is best to only administer pet products which are CO2 and/or ethanol extracted from companies willing to provide batch-associated COA backing their claims.

 

A Brief History of Cannabis for Pets

Given the ongoing conversations around legalizing medical and recreational marijuana, it might seem like cannabis just leapt onto the scene in the last few years. Suddenly, everyone is talking about the benefits of cannabis, for both people and pets. But the cannabis plant has actually been used to address various conditions for thousands of years. At Canna Companion, we’ve been exploring its place in veterinary science for decades. Today, we’re taking a quick look at the history of cannabis for pets. 

What Do We Mean by “Cannabis?” 

First, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page when it comes to cannabis. A lot of terms get thrown around—cannabis, marijuana, hemp—and misused or conflated. Here at Canna Companion, we’re interested in the benefits of hemp, the type of cannabis plant which cannot produce a “high.”

It’s important to note that the term “cannabis” is also used to refer to marijuana, another type of cannabis plant which can induce euphoria.  We do not recommend giving your pet marijuana products, as they can cause adverse reactions like low blood pressure and confusion. Possession of marijuana is also illegal in much of the country, while hemp is legal in all 50 states. 

Cannabis Use in Pets Over the Years

Before there were hemp-based products created exclusively for pets, people recognized the potential benefits of CBD oil and other supplements containing CBD for both people and animals. Dogs and cats experience similar issues as we do, after all—short-term anxieties, achy older joints, and more. As the reasoning went, if something works for humans, surely it must work for pets. Go back far enough, and you’ll find multiple stories of pet parents securing a medical marijuana license for the sole purpose of purchasing cannabis products for their ailing pets. The issue here was that those largely unregulated products contain varying ratios of CBD to THC, meaning that it’s impossible to predict the effect they might have on a pet. 

A number of studies have confirmed the incredible supportive potential of the various compounds found in the cannabis plant, such as phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. In light of the possible physiological, immunological, and neurological benefits, it became clear that a formula made exclusively for pets was needed. 

Canna Companion Breaks Into Cannabis Science

After observing the benefits of a well-supported endocannabinoid system, we decided to create a hemp-based supplement formulated just for pets—something that could leverage the vast potential of the cannabis plant without the adverse effects that marijuana has on animals. Our research led us to create a high-quality supplement made from the mature stalks and seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant. 

We founded Canna Companion in 2014 with the goal of providing quality hemp supplements for pets and educating pet parents and their veterinarians on the supportive benefits of cannabis. We made sure our formulas support the optimal health of pets, in more ways than one. While single-compound products can throw off the synergistic relationship between chemical compounds, our in-depth research into the endocannabinoid system resulted in “whole plant” products, which preserve the entourage effect and provide comprehensive support to the endocannabinoid system.  

Ongoing Uses of Cannabis for Pets

Although state and federal regulations on cannabis are continuing to shift, hemp-based pet supplements are and will remain legal, provided the company adheres to all relevant regulations, such as any laid down by the FDA or NASC. Veterinarians across the country are now recommending reliable hemp supplements, like hemp-based CBD  oils, to pet parents looking for an additional way to promote their cat or dog’s well-being.

With carefully controlled ratios of CBD to THC, Canna Companion products support the health and happiness of pets while minimizing the adverse reactions associated with marijuana use. 

Here are just a few of the benefits of introducing and regularly administering a hemp supplement for pets:

  • Provides neurological support
  • Promotes a calm demeanor
  • Maintains normal joint health
  • Encourages a healthy GI tract
  • Assists in end of life comfort and care
  • Supports the functioning of the immune system

As with any change to your pet’s supplement routine, be sure to check with your veterinarian before introducing a hemp-based pill or oil. Each animal reacts to hemp-based products differently, so you may find that your pet needs a different dosage than the standard. If you have further questions about whether or not your pet would benefit from a hemp supplement, contact a licensed veterinary professional.

Potential Future Uses of Cannabis for Pets

The future looks promising when it comes to the potential applications of hemp-based pet supplements. As more studies are done, and we continue to advance in our understanding of cannabis science, we look forward to discovering even more about this beneficial plant.

One of the main challenges facing veterinary use of cannabis is the lack of existing industry regulations. Overdoses, incorrect ratios of CBD to THC, and low-quality products can leave pets lethargic and uncoordinated. Fortunately, these effects only last for a few hours, and there are no known long-term effects of hemp usage in pets. Moving forward, Canna Companion will continue to stand out from industry competitors by sticking to our rigorous standards and offering the high-quality hemp supplements we’re known for producing.

Where to Get Hemp-Based Supplements Today

Ongoing advances in veterinary science and our own in-depth research into the endocannabinoid system has revealed the vast potential of the cannabis plant. We’re just scratching the surface! But for now, we’re proud to provide the tools and resources for pet parents to support their cats and dogs. Whether you have a dog suffering from separation anxiety or a cat in need of end of life care, we can help. Reach out today to learn more about how hemp-based supplements can fit into your pet’s daily lifestyle. 

Hemp Derived CBD: Why It’s Legal

The cannabis plant has had a long, strange, and ultimately arbitrary regulatory history. Until 2018, hemp was classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic under the Controlled Substances Act. This was because the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) did not differentiate between strains of Cannabis sativa L. which have less than 0.3%  of the psychoactive compound delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and those with more than 0.3% THC. Such a distinction is important as the 2018 Farm Bill removed any Cannabis sativa L. plant and its derivatives which contain less than 0.3% THC from the CSA, redefining these plants as hemp.  Any Cannabis plant containing >0.3% THC is referred to as marijuana which currently remains as a Schedule 1 drug, those drugs having, “no currently accepted medical use in the United States, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse,” according to the DEA.  

Enactment of the 2018 Hemp Farm Bill, resulted in regulation of hemp being relinquished by the DEA, to the FDA, who’s functionality of enforcement is public safety rather than the pursuit of criminal convictions. The explosion of public cannabidiol (CBD) use and pressure from public outcry, resulted in the FDA and US lawmakers being forced into action.  When backed by mounds of anecdotal and scientific evidence, and significant financial and political pressure, regulatory agencies had no choice but to realize hemp and its derivatives are an important crop for American farmers and consumers. 

The 2018 Farm Bill has explicitly preserved the FDA’s authority over hemp products, which is in the best interest of public safety. This part of the regulation is key because, prior to the 2018 Farm Bill, the use and regulation of CBD products and hemp was left up to state legislation. The DEA, however, was still making arrests despite state laws because it was still a federal crime and they had the authority to do so. This left a confusing and contradicting atmosphere within the regulations and hemp farming/manufacturing community.

The FDA has now vowed “…to treat these products just like we do any other.  FDA is committed to advancing hemp products through the Agency’s existing regulatory pathways, and we are further exploring whether it would be appropriate to make additional regulatory pathways available to hemp products such as those containing cannabidiol (CBD). FDA believes taking this approach protects patients and the public health, fosters innovation for safe and appropriate products, and promotes consumer confidence.”  This is a huge and fantastic leap in progress for hemp regulation —  from a schedule 1 narcotic to a FDA regulated consumer product — as it helps ensure a better product for the consumer, which in our case happens to have four legs and lots of fur.

  

Canna Companion is devoted to regulatory compliance and public safety within the new framework of hemp legislation. We believe that transparency and current good manufacturing practices (cGMPs) delegated by the FDA are key to the progression of hemp based laws.  Canna Companion works closely with the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) , who maintains open channels with the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) regarding hemp legislation.  This helps ensure we are always up to date with new changes in policy, usually before they reach the general public. 

The NASC continually monitors its members, collecting data from companies who supply hemp products for animals. They released an ingredient risk report for hemp and hemp based compounds from 10 years of data which shows 34 million applications of hemp products to dogs, cats, and horses with only 10 adverse events, and none of them serious enough to prompt a recall. This data is hugely important and is being used as an example of the safety of hemp products when produced under FDA guidelines. Canna Companion is proud to have assisted in their data collection efforts, setting an example of what hemp companies should be doing in order to provide transparent data and a quality product to consumers.     

   

 

cGMPs: What Are They & Why Do They Matter?

 

cGMPs: What are they?

Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP’s) play a critical role in quality and safety in the manufacturing of consumer products. But what are cGMP’s? They are a set of rules and regulations mandated by the FDA to assure consumers the products they buy are quality products and safe for the intended consumer. The FDA has outlined specific industry standard rules manufacturers must follow in order to sell their products.  Furthermore, FDA officers will audit manufacturing facilities at random to ensure compliance, that facilities are properly following cGMP guidelines.

 

Why do cGMP’s matter in a manufacturing facility? 

cGMP’s are observable practices that establish a baseline for standards within the manufacturing facility.  Basic hygiene is a critical one which requires facilities enforce strict hand washing policies, as well as provide thorough employee training for food handling.  In addition, cGMP’s cover every reasonably foreseeable potential for adulteration within a manufacturing facility from receiving ingredients and packaging to shipping supplements to your home.  Because these regulations encompass all aspects of the manufacturing process, cGMP’s establish rules for manufacturing operations to help ensure a consistent and unadulterated product for consumers is produced.  

One way in which manufacturers are held responsible for cGMP standards is via standard operating procedures (SOP’s).  Employees receive must receive training on SOPs and have access to those documents for reference. Using easy to follow but thorough instructions and checklists provides a quality product and ensures compliance in all cGMP practices.   

 

How does Canna Companion comply with cGMPs?

Canna Companion strives to be a leader in cGMP compliance not only to ensure the quality of our products, but to set an example in the animal health industry. We truly care about our customers and their pets, which means we take these obligations very seriously, and we do so happily. 

The potential for contamination occurrence within a manufacturing facility is easily deterred with the right cGMPs in place.  Canna Companion manufacturing employees work dutifully throughout the day to ensure your product is of the highest quality.  

We utilize many procedures during our daily, weekly, and monthly routines, including cleaning checklists and a specific flow of movement within the facility.  The latter helps limit exposure to sensitive items like ingredients, while providing readily accessible ‘normal’ areas for office needs and employee lockers and breaks. In addition, the facility contains personal protective equipment (PPE) lists and materials at all stations, making it easy for employees to adhere to regulations.   

By testing each ingredient before it comes in, we make sure our ingredients are up to standard before they even enter into the production stream. This includes a barrage of laboratory tests: potency (% of cannabinoids), terpene & microbial analyses, mycotoxin levels, and residual solvent analysis.  We also test for pesticides and heavy metals, all via a third party state-registered facility.  

Before setting foot in Canna Companion’s manufacturing areas, employees and visitors put a protective gown and clean room shoes.  And of course, before work can begin we wash our hands; when employees work with product or equipment, gloves are always worn. 

These are just a few of the cGMPs we have in place here at Canna Companion to help protect your product. We take the time to do these things because we care! We do this enthusiastically in order to reassure our customers that the product they are giving to their furry family member is of the highest quality.   

Food Safety in Manufacturing

2011 FDA FSMA Regulations: From Response to Prevention

 

Prior to the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) enactment in 2011, regulators were reacting to instances of foodborne illness in the United States, and playing clean up, attempting to contain the rising public health problem. Essentially, consumer safety — human and pet alike — was only a concern after a foodborne illness was already present in the food system.  Luckily, Congress and the FDA agreed changes needed to be made in order to protect the United States’ food system and economic well-being. The change from previous food safety regulations to FSMA largely involves providing oversight to manufacturers of food to prevent food borne illness before it happens, shifting the attention from reaction/response to prevention.  

With FSMA, the FDA outlined 7 major rules growers, producers, harvesters, and processors must be in compliance with in order to manufacture food in the United States. These rules encompass supply-chain to farm to fork and ensure every aspect of production is reviewed for its potential as a public health hazard. FSMA ensures consumers that manufacturers have food safety systems in place to protect their product and consumers from foodborne illness. In short, foodborne illnesses pose significant risk to pet and public health; the good news is foodborne illnesses are largely preventable under FSMA statutes. Because the FDA is forcing regulatory obligations on all growers, harvesters, processors, and transporters of food, you can sit comfortably knowing that your food — and your pet’s supplements — have undergone a variety of steps to prevent any foodborne illnesses.  

FSMA is also intended to protect human dietary supplements and dosage form animal health products such as Canna Companion products. The FSMA rules have major implications for manufacturing companies across the United States. Companies must provide evidence to regulating agencies such as the FDA that they are putting controls in place within their manufacturing facilities in order to protect the safety and quality of their products for the consumer.    

At Canna Companion, we take your pets’ health seriously, and instituted a variety of protocols including:  

  • Third-party testing on all ingredients and final products including microbial, pesticide, and heavy metal analyses; 
  • Yearly food safety training for all production employees whereby employees who make your pets’ hemp supplements receive the same certification as WA-state food workers;
  • Cleaning and environmental procedures designed to prevent microbial growth using eco and pet-friendly means.