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Oregon Recalls Cannabis from Multiple Producers for Aspergillus, Heavy Metals

The batches were harvested before the state changed rules for microbiological and heavy metal testing.

Produced by Rebel Spirit, Mafia Funeral tested positive for aspergillus.
Produced by Rebel Spirit, Mafia Funeral tested positive for aspergillus.

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC) yesterday issued product recalls for several batches of cannabis flower that tested positive for aspergillus (mold) and heavy metals (cadmium and mercury).

The issue was first identified by the OLCC during a routine audit of inventory in the state’s cannabis tracking system (CTS) on June 21, 2023. The various batches of cannabis flower and pre-rolls were sold by about 75 different retailers from January 2023 to June 22, 2023.

The OLCC is using Metrc, the state’s CTS, to identify affected inventory and has instructed retailers and other licensees to halt further distribution and sale. The products pose a risk to public health and safety should not be sold or consumed.

Cin X and Golden Glue were harvested by Greenworks Farms and tested positive for mercury.

Multiple products from Nectar Markets tested positive for aspergillus, including Deadhead OG, Frosted Hog, Orange Crush, Papaya Punch, Purple Punch, Sour Secret and Blueberry Muffin, which also tested positive for cadmium.

An example of one of the affected Nectar products.An example of one of the affected Nectar products.OLCC

Mafia Funeral by Rebel Spirit also tested positive aspergillus.

The batches of cannabis flower were harvested before March 1, 2023. In this instance, the licensees complied with existing testing requirements. Under Oregon Health Authority (OHA) rules, cannabis products produced after March 1, 2023 are required to be tested for microbiological contaminants and heavy metals.

While these licensees were in compliance with state testing requirements, OLCC issued the recall based on the quality control testing done by the producers which indicated the presence of microbiological contaminants and/or heavy metals at levels that pose a risk to public health and safety.

A recall was necessary to prevent further sale of contaminated products and to provide notice to consumers.

Over the past year, the OLCC has worked with the OHA to implement rules that require the testing for harmful heavy metals, like mercury, arsenic, cadmium and lead, and microbiological contaminants, including aspergillus, E. coli and salmonella.

Aspergillus can create harmful mycotoxins, trigger allergic reactions or in some cases cause aspergillosis. Recent research has found that fungal infections – nearly half of which were attributable to aspergillosis – are 3.5 times more likely in cannabis users.

Consumers should also be aware that heavy metals are carcinogenic and considered to cause a variety of diseases. Cannabis is efficient at absorbing and storing heavy metals and other pollutants found in soil and water, which increases the risk that cannabis users could ingest or inhale heavy metals. These metals can damage the kidneys and nervous system and increase the risk of some cancers.

Consumers who purchased the recalled products are encouraged to destroy them. The OLCC has not received any health-related complaints from the use of the recalled products. OLCC staff has worked directly with retailers to halt the sale of the contaminated products, and will continue to look into the matter.

Consumers with health-related concerns about a recalled product should contact the Oregon Poison Center at 800-222-1222, or their medical provider.

Consumers who consumed this product may experience respiratory irritation. If consumers have other product related complaints related to this recall, they should notify the OLCC at [email protected] and include any information they have, including the consumer’s name and phone number, or alternative means of contact.

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