Best-by or use-by date notations refer to when product attributes are at their prime. Photos by Marianne Lynn
Some extracts are quite durable, Farrar said. Gummies made with distillates have a long shelf life as long as they’re not left in a hot car. Extracts such as live resins and rosins don’t get better with age. However, resins stored in a cool, dark spot should have a fairly lengthy shelf life.
THE ROLE OF PACKAGING Packaging plays a key function in the shelf life and safety of cannabis products. It provides a barrier to the surrounding environment, keeping
contents sanitary and microbe free. It also prevents oxidization and, in the case of beverages, stops ultraviolet light from attacking liquids. “Since packaging is the only physical barrier between the product and the outside environment, its importance should not be underestimated,” Hathaway said. “Ideal packaging will prevent the food product from being exposed to external oxygen, moisture and light, as all three aspects can negatively affect a product’s chemical, microbial and physical stability.”
Simple barrier films are sufficient packaging for products such as confections that are not susceptible to spoilage because of their low water content. For products where there is potential for spoilage or microbial growth, oxygen barriers are needed. Packaging for cannabis flower should protect the contents from light and have a true vacuum seal. Beverages and concentrates should be refrigerated to keep them in prime condition. Appropriate packaging also is crucial for THC- and CBD-infused topical items such as lotions and salves, said Kat Merryfield, founder of Dunlap, Tennessee-based Kat’s Naturals, which produces a line of CBD products. Merryfield’s packaging is modeled after the cosmetics industry. The double-walled jars used for Kat’s Naturals CBD creams withstand heat, and its tinctures are in dark bottles. “If people are using water-based lotions, they should be in pumps or squirt bottles,” Merryfield said. “Water holds all kinds of bacteria. Once that gets in the oil, it begins to grow.” Labels on packaging should have basic instructions for how to properly store the products.
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