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Woody Nelson Investigates Complaints In ACKM-P-015

February 12, 2024

Hi Woody Stakeholders,

We are currently investigating reports of bugs in Glade Runner flower sold in Ontario. Our ongoing investigation includes examining flower lots in similar production periods. Below is the status as of today’s date.

Summary:

  • We received 12 customer reports of small insect remnants inside our Glade Runner dried flower products;
  • Our team launched a comprehensive investigation and identified remnants approximately 0.5mm in size of soil-dwelling rove beetles embedded in a very small percent of Glade Runner flower sampled from lot ACKM-P-015;
  • Our production teams confirm there was no incidence of an infestation or any out-of-control pest population during the cultivation of this flower;
  • We did not identify any presence of bugs at any stage of the production, trimming or packaging process;
  • The bug remnants identified pose no safety risk, and all product passed the required laboratory testing for release;
  • While our investigation indicates this affects only a small number of units, we are coordinating with the OCS to cease sales on the affected lot, RTV existing inventory, and are actively reaching out to retailers to address concerns for any affected product;
  • If you have purchased an affected product, please contact us at info@woodynelson.ca and we will make it right.

What happened?

As of February 10, 2024, we received 12 reports of bug remnants in Glade Runner lot ACKM-P-015 and one in SSOG-P-015.

What did we do?

Our team took immediate action to determine the nature and extent of the issue. We collected large random samples from the flower lots in question, carefully deconstructed the flowers under video microscopes and sent the image libraries to our horticulture, pest, and agronomist experts.  

What have we found so far?

Occurrences of bug remnants were observed in a very small percentage of the ACKM-P-015 samples analyzed. The remnants were identified as the carcasses of a species of rove beetle. They are exceeding small (0.5mm-1mm in size) and embedded deep in the affected flowers.  

How did rove beetles get in some of our flower?

As a Living Organic Soil (LSO) based producer, we periodically update our soil formula with varying ratios of ingredients and whole food amendments. Rove beetles eat soil-based pests and organic matter like the compost used in our LSO. We suspect a new compost ingredient contained the beetle larva and the specific nutrient balance of the soil enabled this species to bypass our existing controls. While searching for food sources outside the soil, they traversed the stalk and became stuck in the resinous flower early in the flowering stage. Given the sporadic occurrence of bug remnants observed during our investigation, our experts believe the bugs did not seek out the cannabis flower as food.

How did product from this lot get released?

First and foremost, we recognize that customers do not want bugs or bug remnants in their cannabis products. Our team can do better and are committed to ensuring this does not happen again.

Here’s how we missed it:

  • We saw no plant tissue damage or any telltale signs of an out-of-control pest population throughout the plant's lifecycle;
  • Prior to this incident, our horticulture pest scouting protocols used macroscopic analysis throughout the flower development cycle; these were ineffective at identifying sizes of 0.5-1mm;
  • Before this incident, our trim, packaging, and QC teams routinely broke down random buds for inspection, however they did not employ microscopes. This protocol was not effective in identifying bug remnants of 0.5mm;
  • The affected product passed all industry-standard release tests as required by Health Canada, including tests for foreign matter and microbiological contaminants (bacteria, yeast, etc.). As confirmed by conversations with lab managers, specimens are not inspected for small organic matter like bug remnants before homogenizing the sample for testing;

What will change at Woody Nelson because of this incident?

We have and will continue implementing changes in our practices across our production and processing environments to prevent a recurrence of this issue, specifically including the following.

Fine-tuning our integrated pest and pathogen management program to ensure adequate balance in predator species population, including the addition of the following monitoring and control protocols:

  • We bring in fresh soil and amendments for each production round and will now apply a soil drench application with Health Canada-approved natural compounds to enhance arthropod parasitic action;
  • Increased use of physical controls and barriers (sticky mats) in cultivation areas as an early warning sign of non-beneficial insects;
  • An enhanced research protocol for any new soil amendment or pest control mechanism to allow for enhanced monitoring before widespread adoption to ensure it meets our quality standard.  

We have acquired several high-magnification video stations and adapted our horticulture scouting techniques to include the deconstruction of flower and a specific search for microscopic matter consistent with identifying 0.5-1mm black insects throughout the plants’ growth cycle.

Our Quality Control team now also incorporates microscopic analysis with specialized scope units, and the macroscopic analysis of the product that evaluates the buds using unaided senses (sight, smell, taste, or touch) during the product's lifecycle.  

Lastly, trim and processing staff will receive additional training and tools to identify microscopic quality issues more effectively throughout a product’s processing lifecycle.

What are you doing commercially?

We are taking action to ensure we address the affected product. We have stopped shipment of all products from lot ACKM-P-015 and are coordinating with the OCS to RTV all remaining inventory. We’re actively reaching out directly to retailers to address any concerns.  

If you have purchased an affected Woody Nelson product, we will make it right. Please reach out to us at info@woodynelson.ca. We respectfully request that a picture of affected product and proof of purchase be included in the outreach.  

Lastly, we are incredibly grateful to the Customers who brought this to our attention. We apologize and are committed to regaining your trust through these crucial improvements in our production and quality practices.

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