WASHINGTON, D.C., Aug. 22, 2022 – The National Industrial Hemp Council of America (NIHC) announced at the 2022 Business, Research and Farm Summit at Oregon State University’s Global Hemp Innovation Center, that the NIHC Verify Program designed to increase testing and labeling standards for CBD products and other hemp derivatives has been launched.
“Everything NIHC does is focused on consumer safety,” said NIHC president and CEO Patrick Atagi. “We believe consumers have the right to know what’s in their product and the right to feel safe. NIHC Verify sets the standard for consumers seeking the safe use of hemp derivatives and provides the missing framework for regulators seeking to regulate hemp derivatives.”
Last fall, NIHC announced its intention to launch a pilot program establishing standards for product testing protocols and laboratories. Earlier this year, NIHC continued the effort by signing an MOU with ASTM to develop the ASTM HempQ + NIHC Verification Program.
The NIHC Verify program is centered around the five pillars of safety that include testing for potency, pesticides, heavy metals, microbiologicals and residual solvents. Designed with consumer health and safety in mind, the ASTM + NIHC HEMPQ laboratory certification program is the first independent program utilizing Good Laboratory Practices (GLP), specifically highlighting safety in the hemp industry. Program requirements are reviewed and managed by the Safety Equipment Institute (SEI), an affiliate of ASTM International; this program was formed with input by state attorneys general and other law enforcement agencies. The NIHC Verify program is operated by NIHC and takes the first step toward product safety.
“A common issue within the hemp and cannabis industry revolves around product testing consistency. We often hear how the same product tested at different labs will each produce different results,” said Lakshmy Mahon, president of Global Data Vision and the lead on the NIHC Verify Program. “At NIHC, our goal is two-fold. The first is consistent testing, so consumers have confidence in the hemp products they buy. The second goal is transparency, which aligns with NIHC’s mission to empower consumers with information.”
The ASTM +NIHC Certification incorporates ASTM’S 16 standards for overall lab safety practices, including product quality controls, quality management systems, and testing methodologies, along with testing for the five pillars developed by NIHC. Once labs have met these rigorous standards and have completed the corresponding audit, manufacturers/producers/retailers can apply for the NIHC Verify seal that may be used on product packaging. This is the first step in ensuring that products are tested within labs that meet the highest possible standards.
The benefits of the program will allow participants to minimize risks while remaining ahead of regulatory requirements; demonstrate testing commitment to consumer and patient health and safety; scientifically verify testing facilities adhere to the strictest industry safety standards, and leverage ASTM’s Quality System GxP Certification Platform to track and manage data.
As part of NIHC Verify, NIHC and Global Data Vision have released an online global database of certified labs for hemp, higher-THC cannabis, and medical marijuana labs that can be viewed at https://nihc.theglobaldirectory.org.