When it comes to botanical extracts, cleanliness and purity are two major deciding factors for customers. They want their botanical extracts to be free of impurities, and they look for extraction companies that haven’t experienced product recalls due to contaminants.
For botanical extractors, producing a clean product is all about implementing a clean process. And that starts with your equipment. Even if you purchase top-shelf raw plant material, it can become contaminated in the lab if you use subpar machinery and ancillary components.
Cheap out on equipment and you’ll pay the consequences in recalls.
All botanical extraction facilities utilize tanks, and Highpoint by Worthington Industries manufactures stainless steel and carbon steel bulk storage tanks for hydrocarbon extraction. The hydrocarbons used in this process—usually solvents such as butane and/or propane—are highly flammable chemicals that separate desired botanical compounds from the plant biomass. And to ensure all residual solvents are purged during the manufacturing process, high-quality tanks play a critical role.
Dirty tanks can compromise the entire process, ruining all of your extraction, distillation, concentration, and infusion efforts. And with the botanical industry’s newfound spot in the mainstream consumer space, there’s an increased emphasis on hygienic equipment design, product safety, and full compliance with a slew of standards.
Most companies involved with food safety employ a team of individuals whose main responsibility is closely evaluating machinery and production line operations, design, and performance to assess risks and establish critical control points. Most botanical extraction companies aren’t quite there yet, so they must rely on using equipment that’s as clean as possible.
One storage tank material that’s particularly lauded for its capacity to produce clean botanical products is stainless steel. Considered ideal in the manufacturing and processing of any consumer-facing product, stainless steel isn’t just easier to clean than other metal materials, it’s also resistant to harsh chemical cleaning products.
Stainless steel extraction tanks do most of the legwork in your efforts to produce a clean and pure botanical extraction.
Enforced by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMPs) regulate many different products, including food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, and even botanical extracts. cGMPs play the role of consumer watchdog, making sure companies adhere to proper design, monitoring, and control of all processes and facilities.
For botanical extracts, cGMP regulations protect consumers by ensuring purity in all products. Stainless steel tanks are the preferred material for cGMP applications thanks to their strength, cleanliness, and resistance to corrosion.
State laws regarding botanical extraction are constantly shifting and expanding. Markets once considered off limits to extraction companies are now ripe for an influx of extraction products. State laws can clue you in on where you can and can’t sell your botanical extraction products—and for what purpose—but before you can concern yourself with that, you have to ensure your facility follows the regulations, laws, and standards of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The FDA holds oversight authority over several products available to consumers from retail and online sellers. This includes:
When it comes to equipment cleanliness, the FDA has a specific set of standards and safety regulations. This includes mandates specifically related to cleaning and maintaining equipment used in the manufacturing of consumer-facing products.
When safety standards aren’t followed, botanical products have the potential to deliver a number of contaminants to the consumer. These contaminants include:
Chemical solvents are used to extract valuable therapeutic and psychoactive compounds from raw plant material. The highly concentrated oily or waxy extracts that result from the extraction can be heated and inhaled directly or infused in foods, drinks, and other products. And as we’re sure you’re well aware, these products are exceedingly popular with consumers.
Research firm BDS Analytics reports that concentrated extracts are the fastest-growing segment in the botanical market nationwide. As such, extractions that use hydrocarbons butane and propane must take extra care in purging their products of residual solvents.
The U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), a nonprofit organization independent of the federal government, takes the helm in regulating most solvents, but they do not regulate butane and propane. That’s left up to individual states. This makes for a wide disparity in allowable residual solvents. For example, California’s regulating body set the residual limit to 5,000 ppm for both solvents. Meanwhile, the Massachusetts limit is set at a far lower 12 ppm. And finally, Colorado sets its limit to 1,000 ppm.
This is all to say that it’s complicated out there.
What’s not complicated is this: If you have more than the legal limit of residual solvents in your final botanical extract, you could face a product recall.
Product recalls have the potential to cost companies thousands or even millions of dollars in lost sales, wasted packaging expenditures, and legal fees. But more than that, recalls could levy heavy damage to a company’s brand and reputation.
As such, residual solvents such as butane and propane must be purged from your extractions. And in order to give yourself a winning edge in the battle against residual solvents, it’s best to start with clean storage tanks that actively keep your solvents pure.
Extraction manufacturers need clean tanks and a reliable supply chain. Subpar equipment could lead to a contaminated end product and all of the bad press, damage to the bottom line, and legal drama that accompany it.
Highpoint tanks—particularly the stainless steel models—are inherently hygienic and corrosion-resistant. Purpose-built for the botanical extraction industry, these bulk storage tanks actively prevent contamination build up, improving the end product and maintaining a strict level of cleanliness and purity.
Highpoint by Worthington Industries200 W. Old Wilson Bridge Rd., Columbus, OH 43085
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