ACS Laboratory Launches the Most Comprehensive National Hemp Testing Panel
By Roger Brown, President ACS Laboratory
In this post:
- How we created the national hemp testing panel
- What it means for multi-state operators
- National potency panel
- Pesticides panel
- Heavy metals panel
- Residual solvents panel
- Microbiology panel
- Mycotoxins panel
- Moisture and water sensitivity
One year after the USDA issued its final rules on hemp, various states enacted their own regulatory programs. For instance, Florida, New York, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Utah created specific testing rules that hemp growers and brands must follow. These rules are much more comprehensive than the USDA’s mandates.
The diverse regulations mean multi-state hemp operators need reliable support to remain nationally compliant. Likewise, hemp supply chain companies need qualified third-party laboratories that meticulously follow nuanced laws to ensure their products are permissible across the country.
Unfortunately, most laboratories don’t offer comprehensive testing. In fact, most laboratories don’t even provide strict regulatory testing.
However, ACS Laboratory offers several levels of rigorous compliance testing. That's precisely why we developed a genuine comprehensive National Hemp Testing Panel, which we believe is this industry’s future.
How We Created the National Hemp Testing Panel
Led by our Principal Scientist and Laboratory Director, Aixia Sun, we conducted intense due diligence for several months.
First, we researched the fine print of every state's rules for hemp sampling, THC potency, cannabinoid content, residual solvents, pesticides, mycotoxins, heavy metals, and microbiology. Then, we created elaborate matrices to compare each mandate. Finally, we extracted the strictest requirements per category to create the National Hemp Testing Panel, action levels, and corresponding Certificate of Analysis.
Still, our work wasn’t complete. After reviewing the maximum allowable limits for various contaminants, we realized we needed to develop new testing methods to align. Specifically, we invested in highly sensitive instrumentations that could detect the lowest possible action limits, such as ten parts per billion for some pesticides and one part per million for some residual solvents.
What the National Testing Panel Means for National Hemp Operators
Compliance is critical to reducing liability risks and expanding market opportunities. By submitting samples for national panel testing, hemp growers, GMP manufacturers, and processors can confidently sell products anywhere in the country.
Additionally, the national panel means B2C brands can signal to customers that they’re producing safe, high-quality goods, which have passed the most stringent requirements nationwide. This message is essential in establishing industry leadership and garnering customer loyalty in this burgeoning market.
National Potency Panel
States vary greatly when it comes to cannabinoid potency requirements. Some only care if hemp tests below 0.3% THC. Others want to know about CBD concentration as well.
Uniquely, states like Florida and New York want hemp manufacturers to test for more than ten cannabinoids. As a result, we added 16 compounds to account for every state mandate, plus two additional cannabinoids to cover thousands of client requests. Along with cannabinoid content, we go above and beyond traditional potency standards.
Our National Hemp Testing Panel includes optional terpenes potency as well. Research indicates terpenes are essential to each cultivar’s effects, flavor profile, and therapeutic properties. As a result, we believe terpene testing is synonymous with cannabis marketing and consumer education.
Before launching the national hemp panel, we tested for 67 pesticides, following Florida’s strictest national rules at the time. Today we analyze over 100 pesticides due to Colorado’s latest requirements.
We also added pesticides that California bans, which Colorado didn’t include in its hemp program. That brings the total to 105 pesticides.
Our National Hemp Testing Panel surpasses all state requirements for heavy metals. Why? Our clients overwhelmingly request that we follow the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) guidelines for pharmaceutical-grade products.
USP bans 21 heavy metals above a specific action limit to ensure products are safe to consume.–and now so do we plus 3 to meet state requirements for a total of 24 heavy metals.
We now test for 55 residual solvents, covering every state rule nationwide and ensuring the cleanest possible hemp-extracted products.
Some hemp programs only mandate salmonella and e.coli testing. Other states add Aspergillus contaminants to the mix. We combined all the program requirements to test for seventeen different microorganisms, like listeria, which cause severe illness when ingested at high levels.
Before launching this panel, we tested for every required mycotoxin contaminant nationwide. So, we didn’t add new mycotoxins to the list. However, we did revise action limits to the strictest (aka lowest) levels.
Moisture and Water Sensitivity
Most states don’t require moisture and water sensitivity testing. However, these analyses are critical to product quality because plants with high moisture levels are more likely to develop fungi, mold, and bacteria.
The Bottom Line
The national regulatory landscape is fragmented, disjointed, overwhelming, and uncertain for nationwide hemp operators that want to sell a safe and compliant product. This is especially true for supply chain organizations that sell across state lines.
We believe hemp commerce should not be so complex. We also think end-users deserve the safest, highest quality hemp–regardless of where they reside or where the product was manufactured. That’s why we launched the “real” National Hemp Testing Panel along with the most comprehensive Certificate of Analysis.
ACS Laboratory is the Most Trusted Cannabis and Hemp Laboratory in the USA™ and continues to drive this industry forward with consistent, reliable, and compliant standards in every category.