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Aurum Labs Becomes Second Lab in Colorado to Be Certified to Test Hemp

By Leo Bear-McGuinness

Published: Aug 13, 2021   
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The cannabis testing facility Aurum Labs has become the second lab in Colorado to be approved to test hemp products for a range of contaminants and cannabinoids.

In a press release on August 12, the Durango-based company announced that it had been awarded the certification from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).

New hemp rules

Colorado has recently revamped its requirements for testing hemp foods, dietary supplements, and cosmetics. Effective from July 1, all such products must be tested for total THC to the milligram, as well as contaminants such as Salmonella, Shiga-toxin producing E.coli, yeast and molds, and mycotoxins like aflatoxin B1.

And effective from October 1, all edible and cosmetic hemp products must also be tested for over 100 pesticides – a significantly higher number than the 13 pesticides that must be tested for in marijuana products.

Under the new rules, these tests can only be carried by a lab that’s been certified by the CDPHE. Previously, only one lab had this kind of certification, Botanacor Laboratories in Denver. But with Aurum Labs’ approval, hemp companies in Colorado looking to have their products tested now have two labs to choose from.

“The CDPHE hemp testing requirements are the most extensive in the nation and we are excited to provide this quality of testing to the national market ahead of federal regulations,” Liz Mason, Aurum Labs’ director of operations, said in a statement.

Indeed, the requirements of the new tests are so extensive that Aurum Labs had to adopt new equipment and standards to carry them out.

Starting off as a certified marijuana testing facility in Colorado, we had a fair amount in place already but subtle differences between marijuana and hemp regulations demanded […] new equipment/protocols,” Aurum’s lab director, Luke Mason, told Analytical Cannabis in an email.

When it came to hemp matrix-specific validations, Mason’s team found that “all methodologies needed to be reviewed to make sure that sufficient validation had been performed/documented on each of the specific matrix types.”

The extended pesticide list necessitated that the Aurum team also acquire a new suite of mass spectrometer machines.

“CO MJ [Colorado marijuana] is only screened for 13 pesticide compounds” Mason said. “CDPHE hemp full pesticide list is 102 targets (more if you count isomers). A new LC-MS [liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry] platform was able to reach the detection limits for 55 of 59 targets, however the full list analysis will require GC-MS [gas chromatography-mass spectrometry] analysis as well.”

Onto the DEA

Beside its new certification from the CDPHE, Aurum Labs is also in the final stages of accreditation with the US’s Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

Since the 2018 farm bill was passed, any lab testing hemp for THC concentration under the US Domestic Hemp Production Program must be registered with the DEA. As of August 13, 72 labs are registered with the DEA under the program, two of which are located in Colorado.

Once the DEA registration is complete, Aurum Labs should become the first lab in Colorado to be DEA- and CDPHE-certified.

“I believe that our DEA registration will be a testament to our commitment to the hemp industry,” Liz Mason said in a statement. “We want to continue to provide comprehensive compliance testing to an industry that is still managing risk in a turbulent legal environment.”

While the new CDPHE regulations for hemp testing in Colorado may be broad, they don’t encompass all hemp products. Smokable hemp products, such as those found in a smoke shop, and those unintended for human consumption, such as textiles or pet products, and are not subject to the new rules.


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