Kathy Knutson, Ph.D., PCQI, is the Founder of Kathy Knutson Food Safety Consulting LLC, an author, and the Chair of the Education Committee for the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), with expertise in the fields of bacteriology, food science, and education. She speaks, writes, and trains on U.S. Food and Drug Administration Food Safety Modernization Act (FDA FSMA) compliance, and has also trained over 500 Preventive Controls Qualified Individuals (PCQIs) throughout her career. Dr. Knutson works with managers to help them write thorough hazard analyses, food safety plans, recall plans, environmental monitoring programs, and allergen programs. Additionally, Dr. Knutson travels to manufacturers to conduct swabbing to locate pathogens during recall investigations, as well as for gap assessments of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) for cannabis-infused edibles. In 2020, she published her book, titled, Food Safety Lessons for Cannabis-Infused Edibles.

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In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak with Dr. Knutson [48:30] about:

  • How she became interested in food safety for cannabis-infused edibles and beverages, and the challenges she faced in transitioning to the cannabis industry
  • Her work with NCIA, as well as with the ASTM International D37 Cannabis committee, where she is helping write the first GMP international standard for the cannabis industry
  • The need for proper packaging and labeling to ensure the safety of cannabis-infused products, particularly in preventing underage use, as well as the importance of designing the products themselves to be unattractive to children
  • How the patchwork of state regulations for cannabis complicates trade and testing, and the potential for future federal regulation of cannabis edibles as either foods or supplements
  • The importance of implementing GMPs, HACCP plans, and preventive controls when producing cannabis-infused goods to prepare for potential federal regulation
  • The need for training and recruitment of experienced individuals in the cannabis industry and the benefits of having dedicated quality assurance managers, as well as the advantages of having multiple Preventive Controls Qualified Individuals (PCQIs) in a food company or facility.

Before our interview with Dr. Knutson, we also hear from Hal King, Ph.D. [3:42], the Editor of Food Safety Leadership in the Business of Food Safety, which is a new digital book published by Food Safety Magazine that serves as a resource for the retail foodservice industry. The book defines and models food safety business leadership from the perspective of top food safety business leaders at best-in-class retail foodservice operations.

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Interview-Related Items

“Packaging and Labeling Requirements for Cannabis-Infused Edibles” by Kathy Knutson, Ph.D., PCQI for Food Safety Magazine August/September 2023

The New Digital Book Edited by Hal King, Ph.D. and Published by Food Safety Magazine

Food Safety Leadership in the Business of Food Safety (FREE download)

Food Safety Magazine Webinars

Beat the Recall: Effective Allergen Control in Food Manufacturing (Available for on-demand replay)

Safely Serving All: Allergen Control and Response in Retail Foodservice (Live on December 12, 2023)

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