MJBizMag April 2022 - 37

into that whole batch of chocolate.'
Then the chocolate is dosed, so we can
pour it into molds, " Brown explained.
In-house testing
Another way to improve quality
control is with in-house testing, and
industry veterans say setting up an
in-house lab is not as difficult or
expensive as you might think.
Garden Society does some testing inhouse
and has dedicated team members
who carry out testing using SOPs.
" It's more establishing the right
equipment, the right training, the right
SOP and then the right documentation
for controlling that lot. So, you have the
documentation to say, 'We tested this
lot. It passed within specification.' You
document appropriately, so if there's
ever quality concern, you have the
information to properly troubleshoot, "
Gore said.
If a business wanted to start an
in-house testing program, Gore said a
good place to begin would be with pH
testing.
" A lot of times, variability in pH leads
to instability in products downstream.
So we measure the pH of all our input
materials. It's a very simple test inhouse
but very important to ensure
long-term stability, " Gore said.
Equipment for testing pH can range
from handheld to desktop size, but it
is generally affordable-even for small
businesses.
" You can spend anywhere from a few
hundred dollars to tens of thousands of
dollars, depending on what you want
to test. You can buy a refractometer
and a pH meter for under $500 to get
started. It's very affordable, " Gore said.
" Creating the system while you're still
small and early stage is incredibly
imperative, because when you scale,
it's easier to replicate and standardize
across markets. "
In all, Garden Society spends
" hundreds of thousands of dollars per
year " on both in-house and outside
testing, Gore said.
6
California-based Garden Society tests raw ingredients for pH before
manufacturing products such as gummies. Courtesy Photo
7
Dedicate staff
to quality control
" One of the biggest improvements "
High Life Farms has made, according
to Brown, is establishing a dedicated
quality-control team about 18 months
ago. The team currently has seven
members.
" Their sole role is ... to double-check
everyone else's work. Make sure we're
not missing any warning statements
that have to be on products and make
sure everyone's following SOPs for
both production and packaging. That's
eliminated 95% of the issues that we
were seeing, " Brown said.
" That quality team is our last line of
defense. The packaging team has team
leads who are also doing walk-arounds
while people work on things, just to
be sure the correct labels are going on
and that people are doing their counts
correctly, " Brown said.
Before products get to High Life's
" inventory cage, " where trucks pick up
product, they go through the quality
team's station, where boxes are inspected
one last time.
" They're doing random audits on
every single box that goes out. They
grab a few things out of each box,
making sure the right stickers are on
and they're in the right place, that the
right information is on and just overall
checking for anything, " Brown said.
8
Professional QC
development
Another way to help ensure quality
is to enroll employees in classes
that educate them about qualitycontrol
methods. One such course is
the ServSafe Food Handler training
program. The online course is required
in Michigan's cannabis industry, but
Brown " strongly " recommends it for
industry employees in every state.
" It's basic training for all of our
employees on how to properly handle
food, " Brown said, adding that ServSafe
is an accredited certification company.
The program covers basic foodhandling
hygiene practices, proper
clothing and controlling cooking
temperatures so end products aren't
compromised.
" All of our employees, even if they're
not working with food, still have to go
through it just in case they need to help
in other departments. "
Omar Sacirbey is a reporter
for MJBizMagazine. You
can reach him at omar.
sacirbey@mjbizdaily.com.
mjbizdaily.com | April 2022 37
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MJBizMag April 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of MJBizMag April 2022

MJBizMag April 2022 - 1
MJBizMag April 2022 - 2
MJBizMag April 2022 - 3
MJBizMag April 2022 - 4
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