Marijuana-infused sweets recalled for possible contamination, use of improper equipment

DENVER - Some marijuana-infused sweets and mixes are being recalled because of possible contamination from unsanitary equipment and the use of equipment not intended for food manufacturing.

Advanced Medical Alternatives, a state-licensed manufacturer of retail marijuana products, sold the recalled brownie mixes, blondie mixes, rice krispy treats and Stixx candy under the brand name "At Home Baked."

The Denver Department of Environmental Health advised that any of the products from that brand should be "removed from retail shelves and destroyed immediately pursuant to State medical and retail marijuana regulations."

The problems in the manufacturing process were discovered as part of a food safety inspection. The department's report says an inspection found "spoiled or contaminated food present in facility."

According to the document, the "unwholesome" material was found in the interior of a home clothes washing machine that was being used for processing marijuana. Inside the Bubble Magic Machine model XPB65-78, the inspector found corrosion, "brown debris" in the interior drum and black mold in the tube used to drain the liquid, later filtered to produce the bubble hash.

"The washing machine in question was,  first of all, not designed for any type of food handling and then it was soiled, and it was not in great repair," said Danica Lee, Food Safety Section Manager at the Denver Department of Environmental Health.

Lee said there have been no reports of illness.

The owner of At Home Baked said the modified washing machine in question was only used to make water hash, a common practice in the marijuana industry. The process involves putting plant matter into the machine and agitating it with cold water to separate THC glands.

"This is by far the most accepted practice in the industry, all over the United States," A.J. Ashkar said. "The way that we were processing was fine by the medical marijuana enforcement division, in fact, the most accepted way to process is by utilizing the machines and we know many many companies that do that."

The business was "ordered to cease and desist the use of the domestic washing machine for all types of marijuana extractions, specifically the cold water extraction of marijuana (bubble hash) used as an ingredient in any marijuana-infused product meant for oral consumption."

Despite that order, the document says the business was issued temporary approval to use the Bubble Magic Machine for the production of bubble hash until Sept. 22.  A permanent food-safe machine intended to make water hash does not yet exist.

"We’re trying to determine if we can utilize commercial food machines to do those types of things and go from there, but we’re really kind of reinventing the wheel," Ashkar said.

According to the cease and desist order included at the bottom of the inspection form, any retail stores that carry the recalled products are required to either return the products for destruction or dispose of them on site.

Advanced Medical Alternatives is located at 1269 N. Elati Street. DEH is requiring the facility to be re-inspected.

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