How to Overcome the Pesticide Problem in the Cannabis Industry

Article written by Daniel Gana for Safety Net.


The cannabis industry has a pesticide problem with a simple environmental solution. Every year, millions of dollars are lost to pathogens and their activities on cannabis farms. These huge losses affect pre-harvest and post-harvest operations. The most prominent of these challenges is product recalls which can be avoided with the right environmental solution to common contaminants like molds, pesticides, fungi, and bacteria.

In December 2022, The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC) reported the recall of 9,300 products still on sale and 13,600 already purchased due to possible pesticide contamination. There were also traces of mold and fungus growth due to high levels of moisture after packaging. A 2019 research shows that diverse pesticides directly or indirectly pollute the air, water, soil, and ecosystem, leading to health hazards. According to the WHO pesticides are among the leading cause of death by self-poisoning, especially in low- and middle-income countries. In 2015, about 30,000 packages of marijuana-infused edibles were recalled in Colorado due to potential pesticide contamination.

As the need for cannabis products skyrocket, farmers face the dilemma of increasing production at the mercy of pest and diseases. Pest and diseases like mildew, HPLV, molds, and fungi have continued to plague cannabis farms, with farmers seeking solace in pesticides that leave residues in the plants. These pesticide-contaminated plants or products serve as a potential route of pesticide exposure to patients with neurological diseases, thus worsening their burdens and outcomes.

Pesticides have been found in all cannabis products, from flowers to edibles, vapes, and smokes. Information from research shows that rather than alleviating a patient’s condition, pesticide-contaminated cannabis harms the patients and exposes them to more adverse effects.

Note that the cannabis plant acts as a sponge that sucks up compounds from the soil. This is why some researchers are considering its possible use in cleaning polluted soils. So far, researchers have discovered the potential benefit of cannabis in bioremediation and cleaning up soils contaminated by fertilizers, pesticides, and heavy metals like cadmium and lead.

The pesticide pandemic in the cannabis industry needs urgent attention and calls for a need to abandon the archaic, harmful chemicals for processes that protect the plants by focusing on “the source of infection rather than dealing with the infection after it has manifested in the plant”. The pesticide problem in the cannabis industry stemmed from the need to keep the plant free from pests, fungi, bacteria, and molds, which can be prevented by maintaining an aseptic growing environment. It is pertinent to note that pesticides won’t be needed when plants are grown in a conducive and aseptic condition. This is why we can confidently say the cannabis industry has a pesticide problem with an environmental solution.

How We Aim to Address the Pesticide Problem in the Cannabis Industry

Although pesticides have always been a go-to solution for farmers who want to rid their farms of pathogens, the parameters have changed. They are now focused on eco-friendly solutions that deal with pathogens without compromising product quality or consumer and environmental safety. Over the years, the WHO and environmental protection agencies worldwide have channeled their strength to promote eco-friendly products that minimize environmental pollution while prioritizing consumer safety.

While product recalls may look simple, they are expensive and may likely send a cannabis company out of business. It may lead to losing confidence in the company’s ability to deliver quality products. So, what’s the solution to the pest and disease problems of the cannabis industry? Well, that’s where Bio-Security programs from Safety Net come into the picture.

Safety Net offers a range of products and services that have been proven effective in various agricultural-related areas that take care of contamination from the source. Their products and services focus on environmental cleaning, disinfection and protection products, UV disinfection products, air purification products, and water purification solutions. Safety Net’s eco-friendly products have the potential to eliminate the need for pesticides and give farmers a chance to save more with less costly products while dealing with pathogens with ease.

As the cannabis market keeps expanding, with more countries and regions legalizing it for recreational and medicinal use, it is becoming stricter and highly competitive. This includes an increasing need for more safety-compliant and healthy products. Companies that fail to meet the new market standard will be thrown out and replaced in the long run as regulations change and big companies and pharmaceutical labs enter the market and will adapt and produce eco-friendly ways of producing products.

With Safety Net’s Bio-security program, farmers can enjoy larger, healthier plants with the potential for more yield, which means higher profit margins. When compared annually, they offer a process where the cost of products to clean, disinfect and protect the growing environment is less than the cost of pesticides and other growth enhancement products.

Our products at Safety Net America have a broad use case, as they can be applied to any form of agriculture currently suffering from the pesticide pandemic. So far, our products have shown good results in cannabis, wine growing, food packaging, chicken house, and much more.


Pathogens are a pain in the neck of every breeder. They affect the quality and quantity of yield, thus defeating the aim of cultivation. With Safety Net’s Bio-Security program, your cannabis farm will be safeguarded from pathogens while maintaining your product’s compliance and safety. Their products and services are designed to safeguard environments beyond the normal approach to disinfecting. They are not only the trusted partner to address the needs of your business today but the partner to trust in developing solutions for the needs of tomorrow in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry.

For more information on Safety Net’s Bio-Security program and what they can do for you, contact them at

Post-Harvest Remediation of Contaminated Cannabis

Decontaminate Naturally

Enhance Your Product

Extend Shelf Life

Research has proven that high-quality, contaminant-free cannabis products are more important than ever with the growing reforms and progress surrounding medical and recreational consumption. Marijuana is susceptible to contaminants similar to those that affect consumer food products. The worst offenders you might find in your cannabis are mold, powdery mildew, a fungus called Aspergillus, bile-tolerant gram-negative bacteria, salmonella, and yeast. When regulators find toxic products, such as flowers and pre-rolls, on the shelf from lots that have previously met state standards, it is likely because of post-harvest environmental control of the products. Post-harvest remediation is the solution to this serious issue.

Now that cannabis cultivation has become accepted as a legal business across much of the United States, growers have come face-to-face with the consequences of failing state tests for microbial contamination (Most of Colorado’s Failed Cannabis Tests Stem from Microbials, Microbial Testing in Cannabis: Regulatory and Analytical Challenges). In general, about 10% of cannabis fails the microbial contamination test at a dispensary or retail store post-harvest (Post-Harvest Solutions to Microbial Contamination Issues, Cannabis Microbial Remediation: The Best Way To Ensure Safety). Still, it is this 10% that can be the difference between profits and business failure. Losing your profits and reputation to an unseen enemy is a huge disappointment and financial burden.

When you consider the large-scale environmental conditions in which the cannabis is grown, harvested, dried, cured, and stored and compare it to the internal microenvironment of the dispensaries and retail stores, it makes sense that similar environmental conditions would affect the packaged products in the same way. Once the cannabis that has been tested and cleared has been packaged in sealed containers and sent to the dispensaries, additional tests for microbial contamination may show an increase in yeast and mold, even to the extent of causing a failure of the state-mandated requirements for microbial contamination. Products may be uncontaminated at the time of delivery from a supplier, which means the origin of this contamination is likely because conditions within the new environment were favorable to microbial growth.

When faced with post-harvest microbial contamination, you may want to implement post-harvest remediation techniques to ensure that such an event does not occur in the first place and have confidence that your products will pass the state-mandated tests while on the shelves and every time products leave the facility. Implementing post-harvest remediation and having faith that your product will pass strict state-mandated tests consistently is critical and essential to ensure your final product doesn’t risk the health of your consumers and your business. Depending on the processes and products used, decontamination can affect the quality, potency, and taste of cannabis, so it is essential to weigh all the pros and cons involved with any products or processes that come into contact with your cannabis and make sure they won’t compromise on quality or safety standards.

There is an ever-growing need for post-harvest remediation and decontamination technology in the cannabis industry today. Post-harvest is the last chance to treat the product prior to packaging it for consumption. If the packaging process is aseptic, then decontamination at that point is the best option to keep the product clean for the consumer. The best way to address issues with pathogens that may cause post-harvest contamination in any facility is to be proactive rather than reactive. There are a lot of factors that influence a cultivator’s decision to implement decontamination technology, but in the commercial grows, where a test failure could mean removing up to 100+ pounds of cannabis from the supply chain, the need is clear and so it should be with dispensaries and retail outlets as well.

Today, cannabis cultivators and dispensaries are the beneficiaries of decades of technology developments for consumer safety, including those developed for food safety. With cannabis in the mainstream of consumer products, it is time to take advantage of those developments and use them to create safe cannabis that will always pass the state-mandated tests for microbial contamination. These methods eliminate or significantly reduce the microbial contamination on the post-harvest cannabis and help to create the controlled microenvironment inside the dispensary and the final cannabis packaging necessary for ensuring safe cannabis across the supply chain.

Safety Net has developed an “Enhanced Bio-Security Program” from our core experience in the healthcare industry. Our products and processes set a new standard for proactively remedying pathogens such as bacteria, yeast, mildew, mold, and fungus in several agricultural markets. Designed to safeguard your environment beyond the typical approach to cleaning and disinfecting, our proven disinfection products and solutions center on providing long-term prevention results. We take an organic approach, utilizing cost-effective and environmentally friendly products and processes to create sustainable systems and promote healthy local biodiversity.

Remediation Steps for Contaminated Product

With contamination already occurring in existing packaged products, treating this product before bringing anything more into the facility is essential. Unfortunately, there is no quick way to accomplish this without removing the existing product from its packaging and treating the potential source of the problem. This treatment will be a two-step process that will enable you to eradicate the current pathogens on the cannabis product and then prepare the packaging to put the decontaminated product into.

The first step will be to kill the microbes in the post-harvest cannabis already packaged. This disinfection is accomplished using UVC technology like our AUVS UVC Disinfecting Cube. Research has proven that UVC can be very effective on cannabis when appropriately used (Disinfection & Sterilization Effects of UVC for Cannabis, Why UVC For Powdery Mildew And Bud Mold). The AUVS UV Cube is highly effective in disabling or killing microorganisms that may exist in a short 55-second cycle. The main benefits of UVC disinfection and sterilization on cannabis are the process is easy, environmentally friendly, and chemical- free. UVC can offer strong disinfection and sterilization to cannabis in a short time with no adverse effects on the original quality, potency, and taste of your cannabis product. Remove the contaminated cannabis from its packaging and spread it out inside the UVC chamber so that all of the cannabis product can get the full effects of the UVC when processed.

The next step will be to treat the original packaging (inside and outside) with an antimicrobial product like SafetyNet’s Biotrexx 247, which creates an active antimicrobial barrier protecting the packaged product from microbial attack from mold, mildew, fungus and yeast. . Independent microbiological testing has proven the effectiveness of Biotrexx 247 in addition to having EPA Registration and FDA clearance.

Once the packaging has been treated and the cannabis product has been put through a UVC treatment, it is safe to place back into the packaging with the assurance that any further pathogen issues will be eliminated. But are there any gaps in this procedure?

Treat the Cause, Not the Symptoms – Preventative Measures to Stop Future Contamination

Although the elimination of any current contaminated product is the priority, one of the next things to consider in the post-harvest decontamination process is how to kill the microbes in the post-harvest cannabis when it arrives at a facility and before packaging. So often, many things that can create opportunities for post-harvest contamination, such as hygiene management, are overlooked or not considered. Still, these very things could be the start of an even bigger issue with contamination once the product is packaged.

Hygiene management is critical due to contaminants that are introduced from outside sources. There needs to be a focus on high standards for hygiene and cleanliness to keep your facilities pathogen-free and reduce the risk of cross-contamination. Simple things such as hand sanitizing and disinfection of mobile devices can be significant contributors.

Safety Net’s mPulse long-lasting antimicrobial hand sanitizer redefines the hand hygiene market with advanced technology that extends protection.  Even though people feel the need to be concerned about hand sanitizing is minimal now that COVID has passed, it is still a concern. It should be addressed, especially in aseptic production environments. If warranted, hand sanitizers at entry points to a facility and throughout the facility would dramatically reduce the possibility of cross- contamination from outside sources.

Cross-contamination can also occur with the very items we don’t think about but are a part of our everyday life, such as mobile devices, watches, hats, and even scarves that have the potential to collect germs and viruses and be carried in and out of a facility. Without realizing it, these items are Petri dishes of germs and viruses and, when used throughout any facility, can unknowingly contribute to the spread of pathogens. Our AUVS UVC Disinfection Cube can easily integrate into any environment. It can provide complete disinfection for any device or article that may move from one place to another as people move in and out of a facility, such as mobile devices, or lose articles of clothing.

Next, it is vital to create the proper microenvironment for the packaged cannabis so that once sealed and made ready for sale; the product can resist all microbial attacks within this enclosed environment. It is crucial to consider the materials and packaging that products will go in, which have the potential to harbor pathogens that lay dormant until they come in contact with something they can infect. Treating all materials with an antimicrobial product like Safety Net’s Biotrexx 247 creates an active antimicrobial barrier, resulting in the highest efficacy against the complete microbial spectrum (odor causing bacteria, fungi (Aspergillus), & spores). The technology behind this product uses a carbon spike along with a positively charged nitrogen molecule so once bonded to the surface, it will attract microbes from the air or surrounding untreated surfaces, where the carbon spike contained within the product can pierce the microbe, and the nitrogen molecule in the product suffocates the microbe with nitrogen (Aspergillus Case Study For California Grow Facility). Independent microbiological testing has proven the effectiveness of Biotrexx 247 in addition to having EPA Registration and FDA clearance.

Although treating all forms of packaging before inserting the product is the first step, treating the entire environment where the product exists with Biotrexx 247 is critical. Much like the hygiene processes recommended, treating the environment as a whole (walls, floors, shelves, etc.) will ensure minimal bio-load, so mitigating the spread of airborne pathogens is easy.

While no system can legally claim that the product is 100% sterile, we believe our methods and products are the most effective means of reducing the microbial bio-burden while maintaining all the original quality, potency, and taste your cannabis has to offer.

About the Author

Jim Harris is Director of Business Development for Safety Net and owner of High Point Mobile Services, amongst other ventures. Jim works to expand Safety Net’s suite of highly effective products into new markets.

The Marijuana Industry Has a Pesticide Problem

Issues Growers Face Today

Interest in growing cannabis for medical and recreational purposes is increasing worldwide. Growing marijuana takes vigilance, even when it’s legal. Unfortunately, when the cannabis legalization wave started, many naively believed legal weed meant clean weed. 

For legacy consumers, many never considered how cannabis was grown or what it was grown with, as the simple act of buying cannabis was illegal. With legalization, “pesticide” may be the most controversial buzzword throughout cannabis.

Pesticides are everywhere. We breathe them in the air around us; they’re in the soil and even in our water. Although pesticide toxicity is relatively low in most circumstances, it can become a severe health issue when people combust and inhale them.

Thanks to recent recalls, state, and media investigations, and even a consumer lawsuit, public scrutiny is turning toward the pesticides used by many marijuana growers. Reports show that many cannabis products from dispensaries contain pesticides, herbicides, and all sorts of gross stuff. It’s seriously concerning because consumers begin to doubt the ‘regulation’ supposedly in place.

What’s the point of legalization if safeguards aren’t enforced?

Toxic and non-toxic chemicals are designed to protect plants from destructive pests, but marijuana is unique. The pesticides safe for fruits, vegetables, or other crops may be unsafe for marijuana, especially when inhaled. Unfortunately, far too often, growers prioritize yield over consumer safety.

Mold on cannabis isn’t a new problem, but commercial production and overcrowded grow rooms create the perfect storm for pathogens and a perceived need to use pesticides. Pesticide contamination isn’t always intentional. High-humidity environments and overcrowded grow rooms create the optimal conditions for pathogens to grow and easily spread from plant to plant.

Like any crop, cannabis plants are prone to pests and disease – from tiny leaf-sucking spider mites that spawn a new generation in less than a week to powdery mildew, a fungus that forms a talcum-like coating on leaves and spreads rapidly through greenhouses. Unfortunately, the environmental conditions in a commercial cannabis grow are naturally susceptible to molds and fungus.

In the competitive cannabis industry, every company vies for a spot in the crowd, and growers race to produce the most potent and exciting new strains. Yet, lessons must be learned from the process.

The birth of the marijuana industry has given rise to a deeper awareness of production pitfalls and potential health risks – not from the cannabis itself, but from unintentional microbial contamination.  You don’t have to apply pesticides to have them in your plants. Pesticides in a mother plant can linger for generations in clones.

Legalization is turning marijuana into a commodity crop, but it’ll take a mix of policy, science, and industry self-regulation to develop standards and best practices. State regulators with little to no experience in toxicology often lean toward significantly limiting or banning pesticide use on cannabis plants because of a lack of research, especially on inhalation. In the meantime, growers skirt around regulations by applying illegal pesticides on the down-low and then using remediation technologies to remove the chemicals after harvest to pass inspection.

Protecting yields is hard work. That’s why many growers in states that have legalized recreational or medical marijuana use chemicals. But in doing so, many cannabis products contain pesticides at levels higher than what’s typically allowed for edible or smokable products. While testing products for toxic chemicals and ensuring plants are grown in a clean and safe environment is necessary, without enforcing standards, the average consumer is often left with little assurance of safety—and limited knowledge of the uncertainty behind the scenes.

Preventing Molds Before They Start

Marijuana plants need protection from devastating diseases and infestations, especially in damp indoor conditions. This is why implementing protocols that protect the environment and plants is more important than ever.

Consumers also deserve protection from the effects of inhaling harmful chemicals and toxins. Preventing molds, mildew, and other pathogens starts with having and enforcing standard operating procedures for cleaning, disinfecting, and protecting the facility.

Growers can eliminate offending pesticides with remediation technology and biosecurity programs, yet many refuse to use these solutions because it raises suspicions that they may have used illegal pesticides. Biosecurity simply puts measures and activities in place to protect against the entry and spread of pests and diseases in the grow facility. Routine biosecurity checks ensure the health, development, maturity, and yields of cannabis crops by protecting the environment where they are grown rather than focusing solely on the plants.

Cannabis technology is fast-paced and ever-changing, impacting many sectors within the burgeoning market. One factor pushing the industry ever upwards is a surge in marijuana technology that helps produce better crops, ensures the highest safety standards, connects consumers with cannabis businesses, and provides new options for consumption.

Biosecurity is quickly becoming one of the most critical technologies in the cannabis industry. Testing standards are getting stricter, and the rate of tainted crops is skyrocketing, causing supply shortages and significant financial blows to cultivators all over the continent.

Crops with mold or fungus can be deadly to consumers—especially those with lower immune systems, like many medical users. The solution for many cultivators is to use chemicals like pesticides and fungicides to combat mold, but unfortunately, these still threaten consumers, placing cultivators in a catch-22 situation. Should you risk mold and fungus by avoiding chemicals? Or should you introduce potentially harmful chemicals to the plants to ensure against mold and fungus? Neither is a good option, as both put consumers at risk. Meanwhile, increased regulation puts cultivators at risk of significant profit loss from having to dispose of sub-par harvests.

Many growers are adopting  Integrated Pest Management (IPM), a biosecurity strategy that is ecosystem-based and focused on the long-term prevention of pests and damage through biological control, habitat manipulation, modification of cultural practices, and the use of resistant plant varieties. This approach is worthwhile but takes time, education, financial investment, and hard work. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs are holistic systems to manage pest pressures below the threshold of economic damage. Many growers have faced financial ruin due to catastrophic crop loss. Fortunately, it is possible to manage pest pressures and produce clean, compliant cannabis without systemic pesticides. As any grower will likely say, damage to the crop equals damage to the bottom line.

Biosecurity should influence the design of grow facilities. Protecting marijuana plants, cuttings, and seeds from pests and pathogens might mean building special quarantine spaces for employees to clean off street clothes before entering the facility. Other architectural designs include specialized soil or built-in equipment to regulate and protect cannabis growth without pesticides or other harmful chemicals.

Given that the financial stakes of indoor cultivators’ operations are primarily rooted in the grow room, adequate biosecurity measures are essential to protect plant investments and harvest profits. Biosecurity practices protect the operation from unwanted pests (insects, diseases, rodents, and weeds) and prevent transmission of contamination.

Biosecurity programs differ from security because the threat doesn’t come from people but rather from pathogens, molds, or pests. Control measures should include evaluating existing processes, reviewing cleaning practices, limiting site access, and managing inputs like growing media.

When All Else Fails, Remediate

Grow facility sanitization is more important than you might think, and there is more to it than simply selecting effective products. Pests, mold, mildew, fungus, and other such pathogens can ruin plants, but there are ways to stop an infestation or reduce its damage by taking a proactive preventative approach. Consideration needs to be given to specific protocols suitable for your cleaning, disinfection, and protection program.

Much has been said about how important it is to clean, disinfect and protect a cannabis grow facility to keep problems at bay.  Astute growers always have one eye on the grow house and the other on the future. This helps them to discover new markets, seize novel opportunities, and gain a competitive advantage.

Cannabis growers don’t need to reinvent the wheel when identifying processes, equipment, and technology that can help protect their environment and plants. A biosecurity program makes perfect sense for cannabis by eliminating the need for chemicals on crops. Plus, it’s affordable, works, and can be incredibly successful.

In the best-case scenario, a plan should be in place before you have plants in plugs. In the worst-case scenario, you need to persevere until things have been cleaned up and then implement a proactive and preventative approach rather than a reactive approach which is the mode of operation for most growers today.

Biosecurity is a primary concern for many cultivators due to the impact moldy or tainted crops can have not only on consumers but on the operation’s bottom line. Unfortunately, it is a complex issue—constantly moving from one input to another—making it hard to get right.

Biosecurity is a more significant process than a typical sanitation program. Biosecurity looks at controlling sources of disease both outside and within a facility rather than simply cleaning up equipment and work surfaces.

Pests and pathogens are present in the outside environment and can enter cultivation areas where they may find a protected niche to infest. Cross-contamination from tools, staff clothing, and personal electronic devices can introduce spores, and contamination into a cannabis grow room.

As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Proper disinfection practices work within a growing facility, and biosecurity needs to be seen as an extra ring of protection. Whatever can be done to keep pathogens at bay within your facility will save you from tremendous headaches and loss.

The best biosecurity programs usually consist of multiple layers designed to evaluate the current conditions of a facility, starting with testing to determine the level of pathogen contamination and where it is most prominent, and then the right processes and products to do proper cleaning, disinfecting, and protection of the entire environment. Humidity, warm temperatures, and poor circulation can encourage the growth and spread of pathogens, so every aspect of a facility, from hard surfaces to air and water, must be considered when looking at complete remediation.

The main areas to protect include site access, cultivar sourcing, growing media selection, air and water quality, and the human element. Remediation addresses anything that could potentially harbor destructive organisms, thereby reducing yield and quality and potentially limiting trade and market access while increasing the cost of production.

Improved health and well-being of consumers and increased revenue for growers should be the ultimate objectives of any biosecurity program. The environment in which plants are grown, including the cleanliness of the facility, strongly influences the outcome. Once biosecurity and proper disinfection programs are established, it is vital to train employees on the systems and mandate protocols.

In Conclusion

While the cannabis market has seen innovative ideas changing how facilities grow their crops and how consumers find and consume cannabis products, there has also been a steady stream of concepts that simply didn’t have staying power. For every technological advance that’s caused a seismic shift within the industry, hundreds of other products have arisen and disappeared without a trace.

While it’s impossible to know what the next big change will be, cannabis technology continues to be a driving force in a market that shows no signs of slowing down, and there is a considerable focus on the adoption of IPM concepts and the implementation of a proper biosecurity program. The global cannabis market is expected to grow tremendously, and well-positioned companies could capitalize on this.

The benefits of a more harmonized and integrated approach to biosecurity with indoor environments are already apparent with many greenhouses and grow facilities in the U.S. and worldwide. Here are just a few of the most important:

  • The entire environment is now protected, eliminating the potential for cross-contamination.
  • Improved safety of personnel
  • Reduce or eliminate the use of hazardous/toxic products on plants.
  • Reduce financial investment with less costly and environmentally friendly cleaning/disinfecting products.
  • Greater efficiencies in crop yield leads to more profit.
  • Safer products reach the hands of consumers.

The over-arching benefits of a good biosecurity program are apparent. Yet, more emphasis must be placed on adopting a proactive approach to address the root cause of cross-contamination. Too often, we see a reactive approach using harmful or hazardous pesticides and cleaners that contribute to long-term health issues for staff and consumers.

With adequate biosecurity, we believe growers will see a dramatic decrease in issues across the board, leading to fewer issues with testing and ultimately providing consumers with products they can trust will not harm them. Moreover, a more holistic approach to biosecurity will enable these benefits to be achieved in a manner that avoids inconsistencies, fills gaps, and prevents the creation of unnecessary barriers to trade.

The Ohio-based company Safety Net offers consulting services in biosecurity and the proper implementation of products and services for complete facility remediation and enhanced plant irrigation concepts. If you want more information to help you understand the benefits of implementing an effective biosecurity program, you can contact Ron Romano with Safety Net at to receive your free biosecurity implementation guide.

About the Author

Jim Harris is Director of Business Development for Safety Net and owner of High Point Mobile Services, amongst other ventures. Jim works to expand Safety Net’s suite of highly effective products into new markets.

Treat the Environment, Not the Plant

Healthy, sustainable food production methods give us food that is nutritionally better and with fewer pesticides, antibiotics, and hormones.”

Marion Nestle

Agricultural growers, whether flowers, fruits, vegetables, or cannabis lean on the quality of their yield. In the past few decades, using pesticides and fungicides to protect harvest numbers were the methods of choice. But it’s 2023, and we have better technology, strategies, and science to protect our crops without contaminating the product that the shopper consumes. The way we look at it at Safety Net is you have two options: to be reactive or to be proactive.

Prioritizing the environment where plants are grown can ensure a healthy and sustainable crop, while also reducing the risk of contamination for consumers. Focusing on preventing germs, bacteria, molds, and fungus from spreading in the first place, growers can establish a proactive approach that can help prevent cross-contamination and avoid larger problems down the road.

Safety Net’s enhanced Bio-Security Program embodies the proactive mindset by tackling pathogens at the source through various technologies and methodologies that can cross pollinate from the rigorously regulated hospital industry into the realm of agriculture.

Beyond Cleaning & Disinfecting

Cleaning, disinfection, and protection practices within a growing facility are critical for numerous reasons and having a protocol in place for proper remediation goes a long way. But these basic practices are not enough for an environment that needs to grow healthy plants and produce. Mold, mildew, and fungus are common threats, along with harmful bacteria and pathogens, and these threats come in from all angles.

At Safety Net, we recommend what we call the 5 Pillar Approach to Enhanced Bio-Security, which goes well beyond the traditional cleaning and disinfecting methods. Our roots are in the hospital and healthcare sector and the 5 standards of infection control are a great basis for any organization looking to clean up their act. But, our approach to agricultural bio-security ensures a level of decontamination that negates the need for spraying plants directly with fungicides, pesticides, and other products that have potential health effects on consumers.

The 5 Pillars

  1. Personnel Compliance – just as germs and viruses travel from person to person, anyone who enters your facility is an opportunity for cross-contamination in a cannabis facility or growing environment. The staff themselves can unwittingly carry contaminants into the facility on the clothes they wear and even on the electronic devices they use.
  2. Surface Disinfection – keeping surfaces clean is critically important, but using harsh chemicals may not be the healthiest approach. SafetyNet’s AquaOx™️ 112 cleaner, AquaOx™️ 525 disinfectant not only cleans and disinfects surfaces but our Biotrexx 247™️ antimicrobial protectant also attracts and destroys pathogens on contact.
  3. Air Purification – the pandemic has made it abundantly clear how vital air purification is in all indoor facilities. Airborne particulates and contaminants can recirculate through the HVAC and air handling systems. Using our Biotrexx™️ 247 to coat filters helps to capture and destroy germs and viruses rather than just capture. Our Element Air™ technology that utilizes high-intensity UV light targeted on a catalyst to create airborne gaseous hydrogen peroxide provides active microbial and odor mitigation. For larger facilities, our BP-3131 kills pathogens moving through the HVAC System at 2000 CFM in a split second and provides a 99.9995 pathogen reduction.
  4. Water Purification – just as we do not want to drink contaminants in our water, neither do plants. SafetyNet ‘s full line of water purification products provides a complete cleaning and disinfection process and is a systematic method for environmental cleaning and disinfecting that aims at reducing harm to human health and the environment while improving the hygiene of a facilities environment.
  5. Tools For the Task – no job is done efficiently without the proper equipment and the most important part is how products are applied so they can be the most effective in reducing pathogens. Our line of ESS electrostatic sprayers provides the best electrostatic charge and consistent droplet size for superior coverage and highest pathogen reduction.

Consumer Awareness

Modern day consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the potential health risks associated with consuming food products that have been exposed to harmful pathogens. According to a report by the World Health Organization, foodborne diseases are a major public health problem worldwide, causing an estimated 600 million cases of illness and 420,000 deaths each year. The report also highlights the fact that unsafe food can lead to a wide range of health problems, including diarrheal diseases, viral infections, and even cancer. Given the severity of these health risks, it is essential for growers and farmers to prioritize infection prevention in their environment.

By prioritizing infection prevention in the environment, growers and farmers can help to reassure consumers that their products are safe and healthy.

Science Says, “Be Proactive.”

Research has also shown that taking a proactive approach to pathogen prevention can have significant benefits for crop yield and quality. For example, a study found on Springer found that implementing a proactive infection prevention program led to a 50% reduction in disease incidence in greenhouse-grown tomatoes. The study also found that the program resulted in a 29% increase in yield compared to the control group. These findings suggest that prioritizing infection prevention in the environment can not only protect consumer health but also benefit growers and farmers by improving crop yield and quality.

In addition to the health and economic benefits, prioritizing infection prevention in the environment can also have positive environmental impacts. The use of pesticides and fungicides can have detrimental effects on soil quality, water quality, and overall ecosystem health. By adopting a proactive approach to infection prevention, growers and farmers can reduce their reliance on these harmful chemicals, promoting a more sustainable and environmentally friendly agricultural system.

Let’s be proactive, not reactive, or as we like to say, “Protect Your Environment and Your Environment Will Protect You”.

About the Author

Robert Hasselfeld is an entrepreneur, consultant, and freelance writer for Safety Net.

Reducing Crop Waste Through Better Infection Prevention

The article “Reducing Crop Waste Through Better Infection Prevention” was specially written for Safety Net by Alice Palmer

Food and crop waste affect not only the farmers and agriculture workers who grow them but also ordinary consumers. Findings from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN estimate the global volume of food wastage at 1.6 billion tons. The edible part of this wastage amounts to 1.3 billion tons. This tells us that not only is a lot of food and agriculture going to waste but it could also still be consumed by many in nutrient-poor areas. Reducing crop waste is therefore a priority for the betterment of society.

One major cause of food and crop waste — along with global food insecurity — is pathogens that cause plant infections. Today, we’ll look at how these pathogens contribute to the production of crop waste and how infection prevention can help reduce the problem:

Plant Pathogens & Food Waste

Plant pathogens and fungi infections are best represented in the molds we see in rotten or spoiled foods. Any fungi and fungal-like organisms found in plants are plant pathogens, making all plants vulnerable to plant diseases. Insights from the Finding Geniusa podcast series on Scribd, highlight how these pathogens dramatically change a plant’s ability to survive. Unfortunately, in the context of farming, fungal infections and pathogens can lead to many agricultural issues, which is why we need to control them. To manage these fungal pathogens, researchers look into the interactions between plants and fungi and what scientific process can help defend crops against the fungi.

How does food waste — caused by these pathogens — affect food security and safety for consumers worldwide, then? In a One Health Outlook study, researchers cite the case of rotting banana fruit in Uganda, and how the wilting and death of banana plants result in significant reductions in the availability of this staple food in East and Central Africa. The study also emphasizes the threats of poor plant health on population health, productivity, and prosperity. Protecting plants from pathogens and pests will not only improve global food security and safety but also confront the impacts of climate change while protecting the environment.

Infection Prevention Planning Services & How They Can Help

To help protect crops and plants against pathogens and subsequently reduce crop waste, infection control and prevention solutions should prioritize the safety and health of the workers handling produce, as well as that of the consumers who will eventually access them. In the agricultural context, chemicals such as those found in pesticides, fungicides, and insecticides can create long-term health issues for the farmers that use them, along with potential health implications for consumers.

As a safer and effective alternative, patented residual antimicrobial solution Biotrexx 247 eliminates the threat of molds, mildew, fungi, and dangerous bacteria from affecting your crops. When growing organic food and produce, solutions like Biotrexx 247 can help fend off a wide range of microbial growth from affecting the plants, significantly reducing the amount of food and crop waste produced per annum. Protecting the plants and crops at the growth stage will benefit end-consumers in terms of food quantity and quality while minimizing their exposure to harmful chemicals. This strategy is sustainable and safer for the environment as well. On top of protecting plants from plant diseases, solutions such as the Biotrexx 247 are a way to protect plants from other potentially harmful microorganisms without disrupting nature.

Aside from outdoor farming setups, infection prevention solutions will serve the same purpose for indoor use. This is especially useful for businesses that own year-long production facilities which produce natural and organic products, as indoor grow houses are just as susceptible to mold, mildew, and fungi as other microbial threats.

For more updates on infection control & prevention do check out The Safety Blog. Safety Net’s Enhanced Bio-Security Program is designed to protect farmers and distributors from harvest loss and ensure a better bottom line.