The secrets of cultivating medical cannabis: Hygiene Management 

Medicinal cannabisHygiene management is a vital aspect of cultivating medical cannabis. Not only is it a valuable crop, but the industry is also heavily regulated, making crop protection and safety challenging and costly endeavors. By having and upholding a good hygiene protocol, you can greatly reduce the risks of losing the crop due to diseases and infestations, resulting in a healthy crop and a consistent and high quality end product. But how does one set up a good hygiene plan? What aspects do you need to consider? What are the problem areas? And even more, once you have a good plan, how can you ensure everyone lives up to it? And let's not forget that local laws and regulations also affect a hygiene protocol. In this article you can read more about which aspects to consider when developing a hygiene protocol, and how our specialists can assist you. 

Cleaning and disinfecting: different, but equally important 

A common misconception about hygiene is that cleaning and disinfecting are one and the same). In reality, they are two separate but equally important steps towards eliminating bacteria and other pathogens. First, the object in question must be cleaned in order to remove any existing layers of dirt and filth. By removing these layers, the underlying bacteria are exposed and the disinfectant can effectively reach and eliminate them. Should a disinfectant be applied without cleaning the surface first, it wouldn't be nearly as effective. This shows that cleaning and disinfecting are two separate, but integral steps towards the elimination of bacteria, fungi, viruses and viroids.  

What to look for when setting up a hygiene protocol 

There are a lot of aspects to consider when setting up a hygiene protocol. To make sure that no stone is left unturned, we at Royal Brinkman have identified four problem areas: 
  1. Water 
  2. People (employees as well as visitors) 
  3. Materials (equipment & machinery) 
  4. Propagation material  
Although we do not supply propagation material, we do advise you to investigate your supplier and ask them about their hygiene protocol. In case you are unsure about which questions to ask or what aspects to consider, you can always contact us for advice. The remaining problem areas are the starting points on which we build a protocol. This systematic approach allows for thorough and comprehensive solutions. Together with our strong assortment, application equipment, and expertise, we can develop hygiene protocols that best fit our clients' specific needs and wishes. 

A fitting protocol for every grower 

It is probably clear by now that an elaborate hygiene protocol greatly reduces the risk of diseases and infestations. However for some growers a few measures can already go a long way towards improving hygiene on a nursery. Especially for smaller greenhouses, investing in a Flexxomat which disinfects shoe soles is already a big step in the right direction. This can be further complemented with a small hand disinfection unit. Taking these two precautions already have a significant impact on reducing hygiene problems on a smaller nursery, while keeping investments manageable. Below is an example of a high-level hygiene protocol for the entrance of a greenhouse. Keep in mind that the entrance is just one of many areas where hygiene measures can and should be taken. If you would like to know more, feel free to contact one of our specialists. 

Hygiene protocol medical cannabis

Step 1 
The turnstile is locked until someone places their hands in the appliance which then automatically dispenses soap. This ensures that no one enters the nursery without soaping and thus cleaning their hands first. 

Step 2 
Visitors wash their hands to remove any dirt and filth. Our special stainless steel sinks are easy to clean and discourage the spread of bacteria. For more information on stainless steel sinks, contact one of our specialists here 

Step 3
 
Visitors dry their hands. The no-touch hand dryer is a hygienic and fast way of drying your hands.  

Step 4 
Like the dispenser from step 1, the turnstile on the hygiene station is also locked until the visitor places his/her hands in the unit to receive a disinfectant. Since the hands have been thoroughly cleaned and dried in the previous steps, the effectiveness of the disinfectant is at an optimum /the disinfectant has optimal effectiveness. Hygiene station compact URK (left)

Step 5 
Next to disinfecting your hands, the hygiene station also cleans and disinfects the soles of your shoes. By integrating these last two steps into one machine, a smooth and effortless passage is granted. 

Step 6 

Upon exiting, the shoe soles are again cleaned, so that no dirt or bacteria are spread to the rest of the property. 
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