BI calls on hemp industry to up their sterilization standards – NutraIngredients-usa.com

The 2019 SupplySide West will bring together over 17,000 ingredient buyers and suppliers. Hemp is expected to be one of the key ingredients at the show.  State and federal law defines “industrial hemp” as cannabis that has 0.3 percent or less tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Cannabis plants that have more than that amount are considered marijuana.

George Pontiakos, BI’s President, said they are actively sourcing hemp in New York State, Colorado, and Canada. “All the tobacco states have very good grow operations, so a lot of these guys are switching from tobacco to hemp.” 

BI’s new line includes a Full Spectrum Hemp Extract Powder, which involves spray-drying hemp to encapsulate the oil. They also have several hemp protein concentrates. Pontiakos told NutraIngredients-USA that BI works with the growers, ensuring they have good hygiene, don’t grow next to a field full of gluten, or plant in an area ridden with heavy metals.. Pontiakos explains that they sterilize the hemp in the whole form in a large autoclave. 

“We bring the product up to temperature and that encourages microbial growth. We really want to encourage the microbes and spores to spawn, and then we kill that spawn with a high-heat low-moisture kill, and we drag that kill through the biomass with a vacuum. It creates a very clean, very organic product.”

Pontiakos pioneered the sterilization process and hopes the industry will follow suit.  

“I think if a consumer knew they were ingesting a product that was sterilized with ethylene oxide or methylene bromide, they wouldn’t take it, or they wouldn’t smoke it. They wouldn’t ingest it, they wouldn’t vape it, that’s an area that then industry has to fix. 

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