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Those Special Brownies Might Be Making You Sick

Those Special Brownies Might Be Making You Sick

Since marijuana was legalized for recreational use in Colorado, many people have spotted a business opportunity, and not just in selling pot plants. Food entrepreneurs across the state have grasped the chance to make marijuana edibles, from gummy chews to food trucks. But if an overdose of pot doesn’t knock you down, maybe bacteria will, as the state is having a serious problem with food safety violations.

More than 50 marijuana food manufacturers have opened for businesses across the state of Colorado since the law passed. Many of those businesses are based in Denver, where the Denver Department of Environmental Health has found 58 critical violations at 24 establishments.

The food safety violations are the usual culprits like bad refrigeration. So far the inspections have brought about three recalls and the destruction of tens of thousands of dollars worth of products. Fortunately, marijuana edibles have yet to be linked to any cases of food-borne illness, but state and local authorities are holding kitchens making pot-infused delectables to the same food safety standards as restaurants.

According to the Denver Post:

“Scott Henderson, food program supervisor for the Denver Department of Environmental Health, said the city began applying existing food regulations to edibles because of rising safety concerns.

Plant-infused oils can support the growth of dangerous bacteria that can cause illness if eaten, Henderson said.

The city’s food safety regulations classify plant-infused oils as “potentially hazardous foods,” meaning they must be stored refrigerated to prevent bacterial growth unless otherwise approved. The oils are used as the active ingredient in many infused foods.”

Refrigeration is a serious issue, and health authorities are especially concerned that the edibles will become breeding grounds for the bacteria that can lead to botulism. One manufacturer voiced his understanding of the inspections of authorities, but thinks the city is overstepping its bounds, calling it a “witch hunt on edibles.”

The food safety inspections come at the same time as people around the state are starting to be seriously concerned about the availability of edibles on the market. “Edible pot overdosing is said to have been a factor in multiple emergency room visits by children and in two adult deaths,” wrote Food Safety News.

The other issue that has come about has nothing to do with dosage at all, it has to do with labeling. The state requires manufacturers to clearly label the edibles, but critics hold that too often they look similar to children’s candy. Colorado lawmakers have now voted to have the state’s Revenue Department come up with new rules by 2016 in order to better identify foods with marijuana in them.

For the state of Colorado, it will be a question of both health and business. ”We have to be sure that those products that are posing a risk are rethought,” Meg Collins, executive director of the Cannabis Business Alliance, told the Wall Street Journal, also highlighting that it’s important to consider the new manufacturers who are in the beginnings of their businesses. “This is a brand-new industry.”

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Photo Credit: Dank Depot

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106 comments

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8:44AM PDT on Sep 11, 2014

Moderation is the key.

11:50PM PDT on May 29, 2014

Nasty

9:20AM PDT on May 25, 2014

Thanks for sharing.

1:23PM PDT on May 24, 2014

Not for me.

12:14PM PDT on May 24, 2014

Haha... this is funny. Did the authorities not think this "new industry" would happen?! Goodness, of course it would. Everyone is out to make a buck, even at the expense of others... so I'm not surprised hash cookies with some unwanted germs have sprung up. Oh well, good luck... I just hope it never gets legalised (for general) use here in RSA... our already slow, lazy, apathetic workforce would completely grind to a halt!

8:13AM PDT on May 23, 2014

Just for point of conversation, I think self medicating is taking Tylenol or OTC meds as well. I am interested to the opinions of those who denounce cannabis and take Tylenol in ever increasing quantity. Do you only read the precautions of prescription meds, if then? Not just Tylenol, but the risks of all OTC meds, and more is not better in most things. I don't hear anyone expressing questions as to why Tylenol has been removed from store shelves because of increasing liver damage, but is making it's way back with reduced dosage. Cannabis is being proven to have effect in curing of diseases, yet people are seemingly only worried about it's side effects. Really? Comparatively, I'll take Cannabis. It has been approved for use with young children 5-12 years in Illinois for epileptic seizures but without THC. Know before you say No. The alternatives could kill you.

7:26AM PDT on May 23, 2014

Wouldn't eat those even they were given to me...interesting to see the transformation going on there tho!

6:28PM PDT on May 21, 2014

TYFS

8:42AM PDT on May 21, 2014

No thank you.

8:03AM PDT on May 21, 2014

I don't feel as if I learned anything from this post, and not because I was already familiar with the story, but because it was just devoid of meaningful content.

Food needs to be refridgerated. Not news.

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