Health Canada released their first public recall of a cannabis product since March 2015 today, with the announcement of a Type II recall of 69 lots of product, this is in addition to five lots recalled under a Type III recall in late December of last year.
The recalled products include both dried marijuana and cannabis oil produced between February 1, 2016 and December 16, 2016. The affected lot numbers are listed here.
The public recall notice explains that five product lots in December had tested positive for myclobutanil “and/or” bifenazate. Both of these are unapproved pesticides under Health Canada’s ACMPR. Then, On Jan 9 of this year, OrganiGram initiated a second voluntary recall, this time a Type II recall based on trace amounts of the same pesticide(s) found.
Health Canada lists their three recall types as such
- Type I: a situation in which there is a reasonable probability that the use of, or exposure to, a product will cause serious adverse health consequences or death,
- Type II: a situation in which the use of, or exposure to, a product may cause temporary adverse health consequences or where the probability of serious adverse health consequences is remote, or
- Type III: a situation in which the use of, or exposure to, a product is not likely to cause any adverse health consequences.
Type III recalls do not generally warrant a public recall, but a Type I or II recall does. In the past, Health Canada has issued public recalls for other medical cannabis, but has not detailed if it was a Type I, II or III.
Past medical cannabis recalls have been for issues like improper paperwork, inaccurate THC labeling, positive bacterial testing, and mould.
Myclobutanil is a fungicide commonly used for produce and vegetables in Canada under the name Nova40W and the US under the name Eagle 20. The product is considered "sightly hazardous" by the World Health Organization. According to the EPA in the US, Myclobutanil has a relatively low acute toxicity. The acute oral LD50 for mice is 1360 mg/kg, and ranges from 1.75 to 1.8 g/kg for rats. The toxicity of Myclobutanil when inhaled has not been thoroughly studied. In the US, Eagle 20 was found on numerous cannabis products in 2015.
Bifenazate (Floramite) is a pesticide used to control mites in agriculture like wine, apples, nuts and more. Because of its effectiveness, like Myclobutanil, it's also been long used in commercial production of cannabis in the un regulated market. Bifenazate is listed by Health Canada as "unlikely to affect your health when used according to label directions", however there is no research available on it's effects on inhalation of combusted Bifenazate on humans.
The specific levels of any of these products in these recalls is still unknown, beyond Health Canada's classification of recalls by Types. OrganiGram and Mettrum have been unavailable for comment. A representative at ECOCert, the agency that provides OrganiGram's organic certification, said the company is investigating.
"Right now, what I can do is tell you that yes, we are investigating, Health Canada is also investigating, and for now we have to wait and see what's going on and why that happened. This is as much as I can tell you today I can tell you today," Gilles Belley, Sales and commercial representation, ECOCert Canada.
Health Canada was unavailable for comment as of press time. Health Canada recommends that any individual affected by the recall immediately stop using the recalled product and to contact Organigram Inc. at the following number: 1-855-961-9420.
Updated: Aurora Cannabis announced on Jan 13 that, as a precautionary measure, they are recalling products they purchased for resale from OrganiGram. Patients registered with Aurora are being notified directly. Health Canada released info about it here.
Updated to add information on Myclobutanil and Bifenzate.