This week, Cannabis Safety & Quality (CSQ) launched its first current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) audit and current Good Agricultural Practices (cGAP) audit specifically built by and for the cannabis industry, as opposed to competing programs available that are modeled after food or dietary supplement audits. Required by most production companies, GMP audits are third-party inspections that identify operational flaws and legal violations.
GMPs outline the conditions and practices the industry should follow for processing safe products under sanitary conditions. CSQ’s cGMP and cGAP audits are the first step within a systematic continuous improvement process that was structured to help cannabis and hemp operations develop effective cannabis safety and quality management systems.
The CSQ Certification Program and applicable standards serve as protection for cannabis and hemp brands by minimizing the risk and ensuring regulatory requirements are met from seed-to-sale. However, for a newer industry like cannabis, abiding by these stringent standards that were built in 2020 to meet ISO requirements and Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) benchmarking requirements remains a challenge for small to medium-sized operations to meet at this time.
In order to improve market access opportunities for small suppliers operating locally, cGMP certification or cGAP certification is the first suggested step to becoming certified by CSQ. This tiered approach is meant to help smaller and less developed operators gradually level up towards full CSQ certification by encouraging them to start with a lower level standard like cGMP, later adding a cGMP+ certification which includes Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) before finally getting CSQ certified.
“We noticed when conducting CSQ trial audits that it was too big of a jump for the cannabis industry, specifically smaller players, to go from zero to one hundred when striving to meet CSQ’s level of standards. If a facility becomes cGMP or cGAP certified, not only will the facility be more confident in being up-to-date, more extensive certifications are brought within reach, like a CSQ certification,” said Tyler Williams, Founder and Chief Technical Officer of CSQ.