April 27, 2017 Jimmy Pells

5 Ways to Become a Contender in the 2017 Chalice Competition

It’s hard to believe that spring is already upon us and the summer festival season is just around the corner!  SC Labs is excited to work with Chalice Festival in 2017 for the fourth consecutive year.

This year, SC Labs’ Santa Cruz, Santa Ana and Santa Rosa locations will serve as official drop stations for Chalice Competition.  Submission is by appointment only and entries are capped, so it’s important to sign up early to confirm your submission appointment.  We’re working very closely with the Chalice team to make sure contestants have all the information they need to submit their best possible product for judging.  Read on for 5 ways you can ensure your product makes it into the judge’s kit and has a shot at winning this year’s Chalice Competition!

  1. Know the submission window & submit early.  This year, Chalice is accepting submissions from May 1st to May 26th by appointment only.  To schedule your submission appointment, please visit www.chalicecalifornia.com/competition/ and scroll down to the bottom of the page where you can select the category that applies to your product.  The scheduled submission appointments in Santa Cruz and Santa Ana will be from 10 am to 6 pm, Monday through Friday. Santa Rosa will have very limited submission appointments on Wednesdays in May.  Please arrive on time with your paperwork and submission all ready to go.  During your appointment, you will meet with Chalice and SC Labs representatives who will be happy to answer any questions you have about testing and the competition.
  2. Know which category your product falls under.  Chalice has 10 categories this year including flower, solvent concentrates, rosin, edibles, CBD, topicals, vape cartridges, fractional distillates, non-solvent concentrates, and pre-rolls.  With so many categories to submit to, contestants may be unsure which category their product falls under.  Perhaps you have a CBD topical. Do you enter the CBD category or to the Topical category?  Each product can only be entered into one category of the competition, so it’s up to you to decide the most appropriate category to compete in.  If you’re unsure, a chalice representative can help you determine which category you should submit to.  For questions about categories and submitting, please email mj@chalicecalifornia.com. 
  3. It’s in the details.  Sometimes it’s the smallest little detail that can mean the difference between winning a trophy and being disqualified from a competition.  If your submission is underweight, your paperwork not properly completed or your entry not properly labeled and packaged, you could be disqualified from the competition. Remember, part of what you get out of your Chalice entry fee is full-spectrum testing on your product.  Having your product name and company name as well as company contact information included in this report will make it more useful to you down the road.  Take your time filling out your paperwork, be as detailed as possible and please write clearly and legibly in all fields on your submission forms!
  4. Understand the disqualification criteria.  Chalice Competition has high standards for analytical disqualification.  Besides running full cannabinoid profiling and terpene analysis, SC Labs will be performing safety tests on Chalice submissions including Pesticide Testing, Residual Solvent Testing, and Microbiological Testing.  Let’s take a closer look at each of these safety tests:

Pesticides: More than any other topic, pesticide contamination in the cannabis crop will be the most controversial issue as California begins to regulate cannabis with mandatory quality control testing. Growers and producers will need to accommodate these regulations by phasing out the use of certain pesticides. SC Labs has developed and validated a pesticide assay and set reporting limits using pesticide regulations developed by the state of Oregon. The pesticide assay will identify and measure the concentration of at least 12 pesticides commonly used on cannabis. Any detection above our reporting limits will lead to a disqualification from the event. A reporting limit is the minimum concentration of an analyte (in this instance a pesticide) that our tests can measure. As the extraction process for cannabis concentrates pesticides as well, it ‘s not a bad idea for entrants pre-test their extracts unless they have knowledge of all parts of the production process for the raw materials used to make the extract. To view a detailed list of the pesticides on our panel and some of the consumer products which contain these compounds, visit our FAQ page.

Microbiological Contamination: SC Labs performs two types microbiological assays. The first type quantifies the total bacterial and fungus populations on the material. These assays are called total aerobic plate count and total yeast and mold, respectively.  These tests give an indication of the overall quality and potential shelf life of the product but not its’ overall safety as bacteria and fungus are ubiquitous in our environment and many organic farming practices utilize beneficial bacteria as natural defense mechanisms against plant pests. As such, total aerobic plate count and total yeast and mold will not be used to disqualify Chalice entries. The second type of microbiological test SC Labs performs are those that identify the presence of potentially pathogenic bacteria or molds. These assays quantify E Coli, salmonella, total coliform bacteria, and pseudomonas and will be used to disqualify potentially unsafe Chalice submissions. In regards to these tests, the Chalice Cup will use AHP recommended guidelines for potential pathogenic microbiological contaminants. For infused products, the cup has chosen to follow the City of Berkeley requirements.

Residual Solvents: Many of the highest quality extracts are produced using hydrocarbon solvents. Most of the solvents commonly used to extract cannabis have very low toxicity and many are even produced in small amounts by the cannabis plant itself. However, over exposure to any hydrocarbon solvent should be minimized and the presence of too much of a residual solvent in an extract is an important indicator of a low-quality extract. As such, the Chalice Cup has chosen to set a 400 ppm limit on total residual solvents based on the regulations set forth by the city of Berkeley. This 400 ppm limit is easily attainable when producing a quality extract but if you are unsure of the residual solvent levels in your extract it is advisable to pre-test your sample material.

5. Avoid Cross Contamination. When handling, processing and packaging your entry, try to think like a scientist.  Create a sterile environment, wear gloves, and use clean, sterile containers.  Remember, yeast, mold, bacteria and pesticides can live on old equipment and be transferred to your product.  Trimmers should be instructed to wear gloves when handling and packaging product.  Extraction equipment should be thoroughly sterilized after each batch to avoid one concentrate from being contaminated with residual chemicals from a previous run.

For any questions regarding the testing of Chalice submissions, please contact Jane.Stewart@sclabs.com.

By following these 5 simple steps, you’ll be much more likely to make it into the running and gain the honor and recognition of becoming a contender in the 2017 Chalice Competition!  Beyond the competition, Chalice also brings killer music festival and party vibes.  We can’t wait to see everyone out there!  Best of luck to all the contestants!

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