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As the marijuana laws evolve across the United States (U.S.) and Canada there is an increasing demand for the drug for recreational and regulatory purposes. Within the U.S. the market has an estimated value of $2.6 billion with a growth forecast of 20% per year. Incorporation of marijuana into edibles is a sector that is experiencing rapid growth with an estimated 12 million servings per year being sold within Colorado alone. Food safety concerns linked to edibles have been recorded over the last decade and several product recalls have been issued due to microbial contamination levels in excess of the regulatory microbiological criteria.
The regulatory landscape of marijuana remains in a transition phase. This has led to questions on how to regulate marijuana especially in terms of classification as a drug, alcohol or as a food. The regulatory definition is critical when applying standards and developing policy, but more critically what competencies are required by inspection staff.
This webinar will provide an overview of food safety issues linked to marijuana with examples of outbreaks and recalls associated with the drug. Pathogens of concern will be highlighted along with potential contamination routes. The microbiological criteria for marijuana will be reviewed and challenges in meeting the regulatory limits will be discussed. Interventions for pre- and post-harvest operations will be described.
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Presenter: Dr. Keith Warriner
Dr. Warriner is currently a Professor in the Department of Food Science at the University of Guelph.
Dr. Warriner received his BSc in Food Science from the University of Nottingham, UK and PhD in Microbial Physiology from the University College of Wales Aberystwyth, UK. He later went on to work on biosensors within the University of Manchester, UK and subsequently returned to the University of Nottingham to become a Research Fellow in Food Microbiology. He joined the University of Guelph faculty in 2002.
During the last fifteen years in the field of microbiology and food safety research, Dr. Warriner has published more than 100 papers, book chapters, patents, and conference abstracts. His research interests are focused on enhancing food safety within meat processing and the fresh cut sectors. To this end, his research team has advanced knowledge in the area of emerging pathogens, intervention technologies and development of biosensor devices to detect foodborne hazards. He is frequently contacted by the media to provide commentary on food safety issues and is the past President of the Ontario Food Protection Association.
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