Best Practices for Safe Product Storage

Written by Jenny Germano

In most cases, more and more legalized Cannabis States are requiring some form of Safe Product Storage. Understanding how a company will protect the integrity of products either in transport to a facility or how it is being stored at a facility is vital. This could mean certain temperature requirements like refrigerated vehicles, or even environmentally controlled vault storage and refrigeration on-site. Public Safety is always the number one priority when it comes to managing the storage of all cannabis products, including raw materials like whole buds, fresh frozen and trim. It goes beyond keeping edibles, infused beverages, and concentrates in a controlled environment. 

It’s important to create a Safe Product Storage Plan for your regulated Cannabis business operation, ensuring the company is following and engaged with Heath and Sanitation Practices per Health Department Standards and Regulations. Do not always assume the Cannabis Regulations will cover fully how products should be stored. It is imperative to check with local regulations for the existing municipality and the health department on rules the business needs to comply with. Also look to FDA Guidelines such as the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). There are other factors such as certified shelf-stable products and how they can be stored. 

A lot of the State required operational plans or SOPS do cover some of these areas, like vault storage requirements, or a Recall and Quarantine Plan, and also Quality Control and Assurance Plans. There will always be some type of overlapping in these plans, but it is still important to have a Safe Product Storage Plan that can stand on its own. It is key to map out the process of how a product moves through the operation with product storage in mind the entire way. Here are some Best Practices we recommend when it comes to storing Cannabis Products in the facility, along with a FDA link on basic food storage. 

Best Practices for Safe Cannabis Product Storage

  • Keep Products separate by type, For example do not mix Medical Products with Recreationally tagged products (if you’re co-located). Keep Inventory completely separated and labeled.
  • Keep Products stored separately by vendors and category types - like flower, edibles, drinks etc. 
  • Ensure all refrigerated products are actually refrigerated. Read the labels on products and follow them. 
  • Utilize commercial thermometers for refrigerators and freezers. 40 degrees F or below for refrigerators, and 0° F (-18° C) for freezers. 
  • Temperature issues could cause the development of harmful bacteria and cause products to enter into the food danger zone. Bacteria grows most rapidly in the range of temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F, doubling in number in as little as 20 minutes.
  • The way you store products can actually affect your lab testing results - store raw materials in dry and cool temperatures. Not in damp areas where mold can grow. 
  • Store products at least 6” off the ground - always. It does not matter that products are in boxes or hard-sided containers, they need to be off the ground if it is a consumable product. 
  • Keep failed tested products, recalled products, adverse event claimed products, and contaminated products completely separated from the rest of the inventory to avoid any type of contamination issues. 
  • Lasty, we recommend that employees get some type of Food Safety Certification. It can be applied and translates very easily to Cannabis Products and Storage.