Running through the idea of starting a testing lab. Would it be possible to do a mobile lab setup in a van for instance? I know very little of the details other than I see a very large need for labs. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
It really depends on the reputability you are trying to obtain. Look into GMP, ISO, FDA etc…
I assume you are referencing the lack of CBD/HEMP testing facilities. There are plenty out there and being built now but IMO there is always room for more competent, well structured labs.
Are you looking at providing a service to farmers or processors or both? Do you have an analytical background?
You found this site so your off to a good start. The more details you can answer, the more everyone here can help.
Yes, CBD/hemp testing. My aim is for farmers. My family is currently in the middle of putting in an extraction facility. I have 10 plus years in automotive manufacturing and quality environment. When it comes to CBD I know only what I have learned in the past 6 months. I am going to be involved with their operation but am starting to see an opportunity in the testing. From reading lately I understand they are wanting to push to a 15 day window test to harvest. My thought was build out a lab in a van that could go to the farmer, test their crop on site, and give them immediate results. I am confident that I could learn and run the testing equipment but also have already thought through a couple of chemist options to run it if need be.
Current wording still includes DEA certification?!?
What kind of testing are you looking to to do. Limited to potency or are you looking for the full suite?
Get yourself an espresso machine & a TLC kit…
These guys used to carry their test gear on a motorcycle…
You can do everything you need for $10.495 with the SRI Model 310MM.
It tests for potency ( THC at .3% ), terps and residual solvents.
No need to outfit a fancy mobile testing lab. Just a Prius or other high gas mileage vehicle is all you need. Gasoline expense turns out to be your main cost here.
You don’t need a chemist, just 4 hours of training and a few weeks to practice.
There are " certified testing labs" which involve huge expenses and " pre-regulatory" testing labs which don’t cost much to run. The hemp farmers need the “pre-regulatory” labs for fast, cheap results in the critical last weeks before harvest. Start your enterprise as a “pre-regulatory” lab and see if you can make it work. If so, you will be in a better position to expand into the “certified lab” category and will probably be able to purchase the required equipment for 10cents on the dollar from the many failed " certified labs" who will surely go out of business in the next few years.
Certified labs that do COAs typically need to be ISO 17025, which isn’t cheap. I’d go the R&D, “pre-regulatory” route.
Wander over to In House analytics to see what some of your other options are.
I’ve worked with several different SRI-GC’s and they are a robust solution.
The 310MM’s packed column for residual solvents in addition to the capillary column for terps and cannabinoids puts it well ahead of its nearest competitor (unless you’re looking at used HP’s)
I think the idea of a mobile testing lab is a great one. Right now there are no requirements (at least in NV) to have a license to test hemp – only if you’re testing cannabis.
It’s a great idea if you offer farmers much lower testing prices than the licensed third party lab - this way they feel comfortable working with you for harvest tracking/R&D and then they use the licensed lab for final test results before they sell anything. I think it’s great and if you do it right, you’ll probably have a lot of customers.
That being said, I think you are going to run into a few issues that are a little difficult to resolve:
If you are not the final lab (meaning the farmers still have to get their products tested through the state or a 3rd party with a license), there will be testing discrepancies and this can be incredibly difficult to navigate. The medical industry, which is where a lot of these testing devices are currently used, has standards and requirements to deal with testing discrepancies (which are inevitable) that the cannabis industry simply doesn’t have.
If you’re testing for more than potency, you’re most likely going to have quite a bit of chemicals in your mobile truck. I’m not sure how this plays out with fire municipality and jurisdictions.
Analytical instruments go down ALL THE TIME. This is not for lack of trying to maintain the instruments, they are picky bastards by nature and require a lot of TLC. An LC-DAD or UV for potency is probably the least problematic. While a mass spec for pesticides can be your absolute worst nightmare to troubleshoot if it goes down. Will you have a procedure in place for onsite maintenance/troubleshooting incase something happens mid sample while you’re at someone’s farm in the middle of nowhere?
Performing an analytical assay on a sample requires skill you can read in books. Troubleshooting an analytical instrument, on the other hand, is an acquired practice and takes time to learn.
These are probably my top three I can think of right now. I could 100% continue to debunk and pick this idea apart, but I don’t want to discourage you because I DO think it’s a great idea. I just think if you’re going to invest in this, there is a lot more to think about than the feedback you’ve been getting in this thread.
I mean, GMP and ISO crap are at the bottom of my list. Let’s talk logistics first, ya dig?
Based on what I am reading and finding out on pricing, its really not a feasible idea. As stated, I am heavily involved in the startup of a small processing plant right now so I already have my hands full. This idea has pretty well put itself to bed over the last 24 hrs or so. Based on cost to get it going, time and effort involved, and low return I just dont see it as feasible. I GREATLY appreciate your input though.
These guys had a similar idea!
Awesome write up! A mobile lab is a difficult sell. You lose validation solely to the amount of variables listed above.
That van is for sale now. $130k I don’t reckon it did so great
My pleasure, I think with the small business on the side you’re making the right call.
Thanks - I’ve actually put a lot of thought into this idea before. My dad owned a toxicology lab for a while which is where I learned all my analytical chemistry. He closed the lab at the beginning of the year but now we have all these super nice Agilent LC-MS’s sitting around - the equipment in that lab alone is worth like 3 million. So I wanted an idea like this to work so badly so that we could put those instruments to use. It’s just not logistically feasible.