DENVER(TheStreet) — When marijuana became legal in Colorado, food safety instructor Maureen McNamara found that many people involved in the production of edible marijuana products started showing up at her classes. As a result of the demand, she created a course designed specifically for the industry.
McNamara, who has taught food-safety and alcohol courses to the restaurant industry for 18 years, bases her curriculum on the ServSafe Food Safety Training Program developed by the National Restaurant Association to provide comprehensive training materials to the restaurant industry.
And the edibles food-safety classes are selling out.
“In the restaurant industry, people do not want to come to these classes,” McNamara said. “In the cannabis classes, they want to be there. They really desire the information and they desire to do it.”
The course covers everything from personal hygiene to the ways food becomes contaminated and how to prevent it through sanitization and maintenance of proper temperatures.
“Food is food,” McNamara said. “There are certainly differences between a restaurant and a food manufacturer — I’m not aware of manufacturers working with foods like chicken. But they are working with chocolates, lozenges, baked goods and tinctures.”
McNamara’s vision is to teach the course on a national level. She’s already received an inquiry from the Massachusetts Department of Health regarding how her cannabis course is designed.
“I think it elevates the industry,” McNamara said. “As consumers, we will start looking at how edibles are made.”
And amid edibles-induced injuries and death in its first year of legal recreational marijuana, Colorado has realized the importance of maintaining such regulatory standards when it comes to pot-infused food.