Cannabis is increasingly becoming legal at the state level in the U.S., for medical or recreational use. A central question is how to ensure the safety of a new product that is not covered
under any existing federal safety guidelines. In the
absence of such guidance, regulators in each state
have produced a unique set of rules and regulations
(if they have produced any at all) that are not typically grounded in scientific research. The major safety
threats to Cannabis products are bacterial pathogens
such as Salmonella and Shiga toxin-producing
Escherichia coli (STEC), fungal and bacterial spores, and
As a pioneer in Cannabis science, CW Analytical
was one of the first laboratories of its kind to serve
the Cannabis industry and tackle this lack of regula-
tory testing guidelines. The company was cofounded in 2009 by two
scientists who noticed that the Cannabis industry in California was
lacking the regulatory and quality assurance practices necessary to
ensure the availability of clean, safe Cannabis products. CW Analyti-
cal’s team of scientists and experts has been providing stakeholders
in California with important information about the safety, quality,
and potency of Cannabis products long before any state mandate.
The company’s commitment to continuous innovation and technical
development has led to the achievement of ISO/IEC 17025:2005 ac-
creditation, collaborative research, and the procurement of state-of-
the-art analytical instruments to keep CW Analytical and their clients
at the forefront of regulatory compliance.
CW Analytical’s continued success is due to its commitment to providing clients with accurate, affordable data paired with unrivaled customer service. The company’s mission is to enable clients to better serve
its customers and compete in the Cannabis marketplace with the safest,
cleanest, and most consistent Cannabis products in California.
When considering its testing needs, CW Analytical evaluated the
California Cannabis requirements as well as additional quality assurance measures it felt important to offer in the industry. As the
company was utilizing culture-based methods for all Salmonella and
STEC screening, it soon realized that a faster, validated method was
needed. The company decided to partner with Bio-Rad after evaluating different pathogen detection options based on their utilization of
microbiological methodology (i.e., pre-enrichment for screening of
pathogens), ease of use and throughput potential in the routine laboratory, cost, and publication of validated methods. Bio-Rad products
fit all of these criteria for choosing a system to detect Salmonella and
STEC in a routine laboratory.
Taking the Lead
Bio-Rad has taken a strong lead in pathogen testing, providing their
full portfolio of detection systems, including commercial PCR kits (
iQ-Check) and instrumentation which can provide results in 24 hours.
CW Analytical currently uses the iQ-Check Salmonella II and STEC
VirX PCR kits, CFX96 Touch Deep Well thermal cycler, and CFX Manager
IDE software to screen for Salmonella and STEC with not only confi-
dence but with ease as well. It has allowed
the company to incorporate PCR into the
microbiological methods used in the labo-
ratory with assurance and efficiency.
These products are based on the fast,
sensitive, and proven technology of real-time PCR. The kit is intended for detecting Salmonella spp. and pathogenic E.
coli in a large variety of food products.
The kit uses an optimized system of primers and probes to ensure high specific-ity and eliminate cross-reactions. It is
designed as a multiplex reaction that
includes an internal amplification control
that is co-amplified in parallel with the
target DNA for a reliable result. The iQ-Check protocol has been validated by
several certification bodies. These validation studies have shown that the kit is
equivalent to or better than the various
reference methods evaluated and provides results in much less time.
A Perfect Partnership
When asked to describe the benefits
of using Bio-Rad’s products, Emily Savage, laboratory manager at CW Analytical,
states that the products are easy to use,
the developed protocols are sufficiently
straightforward such that many individuals can be easily trained to perform
them, the products are rapid and have
incorporated accurate assays, and gold
standard microbiological methodologies
are utilized. She notes that Bio-Rad also
provides excellent customer service.
“Bio-Rad has provided excellent customer service with us throughout the
entire process. The training provided
after we purchased the instrument was
extremely helpful. Since then, all of our
interactions with Bio-Rad have remained
positive. The assays we utilize in our
laboratory are effective and streamlined
into our routine laboratory workflow with
ease. Lastly, we have fostered a mutually
beneficial and collaborative relationship
with Bio-Rad that is appreciated by all at
As molecular methods for pathogen
detection continue to improve, emerging
pathogens are being described around
the world in molecular terms. The use of
real-time PCR methods has the benefit of
automation, high sensitivity, high precision, and accuracy, plus the flexibility to
simultaneously test for more than one
pathogen. With these advantages, CW
Analytical can offer better laboratory services to the Cannabis industry.
Meeting the Need for Accurate
Cannabis Microbial Testing