- Jason Cragholm in CBD

CBD Safety: How are CBD Producers Doing?

The best CBD producers provide high quality and safe CBD products to consumers. While there are many wonderful CBD products on the market today, there are also many low quality products available through both brick-and-mortar and online sellers. As a result, it’s nearly impossible for consumers to identify the best products.

Until specific quality standards are in place, CBD producers will manufacture products that are inconsistent and may even be incorrectly labeled. This leads to consumer confusion and can negatively affect the entire industry.

Just how big is the quality problem? 

The Center for Food Safety and the Center for Cannabis Safety released a report recently that evaluated hemp CBD producers and applied a scorecard to each in terms of three factors:

  • Production and processing methods
  • Testing protocols
  • Transparency to consumers
In total, the Center for Food Safety evaluated 40 companies that sell hemp CBD products and applied a grade (with “A” being the best and “F” being the worst) to each company based on total points earned in four scoring criteria categories: production, processing, testing, and transparency. 

Some of the specific policies and practices the Center for Food Safety evaluated include:

  • The number of products certified organic or made with organic ingredients
  • Which products are processed using ethanol/alcohol rather than CO2
  • The presence of pesticides, heavy metals (including lead and arsenic), and microbiological contaminants
  • Whether or not companies clearly and openly communicate information about production practices to consumers
The results of the study may surprise you.

Key Findings in the Hemp CBD Producers Scorecard Report


Based on the study results, CBD producers need to improve – a lot. Here are some of the most significant findings:

  • Nearly half of the 40 CBD producers evaluated received a failing (“F”) or near failing (“D”) grade. 
  • Only 4 companies received an “A” grade.
  • More than one in three companies (35%) do not publish their lab results online for consumers to easily access.
  • Only 6 companies produce primarily USDA Certified Organic products.
  • Only 2 companies certify that they’re glyphosate free (glyphosate is a pesticide that is classified as a probable carcinogen).
  • 1 in 5 companies (20%) do not use CO2, lipid extraction, or non-GMO ethanol or alcohol.
  • Approximately 1 in 3 companies don’t test for microbiological contaminants (35%) or heavy metals (33%).
  • More than half of companies (55%) don’t test for pesticides. 
  • 1 in 5 companies (80%) don’t test products for efficacy.
Clearly, there is a lot of room for improvement. You can see the full grade breakdown in the visualization from the Center for Food Safety below.

via www.centerforfoodsafety.org

What Should Hemp CBD Producers Do to Improve?


The Center for Food Safety offers several recommendations to hemp CBD producers in its report. Specifically, it’s recommended that CBD producers do the following:

  • Source certified organic and non-GMO ingredients.
  • Test for pesticides, heavy metals, microbiological contaminants, and efficacy.
  • Be transparent and provide all information to consumers on packaging and websites.
  • Use independent certifications.
Keep in mind, certifications refer to both third-party testing and independent quality ratings, such as the QualSCORE Quality Rating and SAFE CBD Certification – both of which instantly communicate to consumers that a company’s CBD products are the highest quality and safely produced.

What Should Consumers Do to Choose Safe CBD Products?


In its report, the Center for Food Safety recommends that consumers look for products that are USDA Certified Organic and check with the Non-GMO Project for the status on GMOs in CBD products. 

In addition, consumers should look for products made by CBD producers that test for pesticides and heavy metals, and they should consider the processing methods used by producers. Specifically, consumers should look for products that use only CO2 extraction or lipid infusion in order to avoid products processed with liquids solvents like ethanol, butane, alcohol, or isopropyl.

Most importantly, the Center for Food Safety and the Center for Cannabis Safety recommend that consumers contact hemp CBD producers and demand that they do the following:

  • Obtain organic certification.
  • Change production and processing practices to ones that are safer for human health and the environment (e.g., use CO2 extraction, test for pesticides, heavy metals and so on).
  • Provide results of independent lab testing on their websites.
With so many hemp CBD processors failing or nearly failing to meet the basic grading criteria used in the Center for Food Safety’s study, it’s critical for consumers to reach out to CBD companies and demand them to prioritize quality and safety in everything they do. 

Fortunately, they can do all of that and more using QualSCORE’s affordable customer feedback tools, quality ratings, and SAFE certification. You can follow the link to schedule a free 15-minute demo and see how QualSCORE works to improve consumer happiness and safety while giving CBD companies a competitive advantage.
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