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Oregon Regulator Recalls Cannabis Flower Due to Aspergillus and Heavy Metal Contamination

By Leo Bear-McGuinness

Published: Jun 28, 2023   
Cannabis flower.

Image credit: iStock

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State regulators in Oregon have recalled multiple products derived from three batches of cannabis flower.

The batches were harvested between October 2022 and January 2023 by three separate cultivators: Greenworks Farms, Rebel Spirit, and Nectar Markets, LLC.

While the companies were reportedly in compliance with state testing requirements, the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC) issued the recall based on quality control testing “done by the producers”, which indicated the presence of microbiological contaminants and heavy metals at levels that pose a risk to public health and safety.

The recalled products made by Greenworks Farms reportedly tested positive for high levels of mercury. Those made by Nectar Markets tested for Aspergillus and, in the case of the company’s Blueberry Muffin strain, cadmium as well. The one recalled product from Rebel Spirit tested positive for Aspergillus.

Full details of the affected products can be found in the recall notice issued by the OLCC on June 26.

Consumers in possession of the recalled products have been advised to destroy them.

No related illnesses have been reported as of June 26. Any consumers who do have health concerns about the products have been encouraged to contact the Oregon Poison Center (800-222-1222) or their medical provider.

Aspergillus is a genus of fungi that can cause disease in individuals with immunodeficiency. Cadmium and mercury are heavy metals that can cause bone and lung damage, kidney disease, and certain cancers.

Cannabis is a hyperaccumulator, and crops have been known to absorb such heavy metals, in high concentrations, from their surrounding soil.

Heavy metal and microbiological testing only became compulsory for cannabis products in Oregon this year. All cannabis labs in the state must now test cannabis materials for heavy metals and microbiological contaminants if the material was harvested or manufactured on or after March 1.

All recalled batches from Greenworks Farms, Rebel Spirit, and Nectar Markets were harvested before this date. So, in this instance, all licensees complied with existing testing requirements. The recall was made nonetheless out of concern for public safety.


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