Certificates of Analysis (COAs): How to Read and Understand Them

Did you know Future Harvest is fully compliant with Health Canada, CFIA, Transport Canada, and we test yearly for heavy metals and the 96 pesticides on Heath Canada's watch list? When you use Future Harvest nutrients, you are assured with Certificates of Analysis (COAs), Product Data Sheets (PDSs), and Safety Data Sheets (SDSs). 

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Future Harvest is committed to protecting the environment and its customers from any contaminants. We keep samples of all of the batches that we produce. Once per year we take subsamples (aliquots) and combine them into one master sample that would be representative of all of the batches produced during that year. We compile all of this data together and release it to the public as a Certificate of Analysis (COA).

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Our 2021 round of COA's (Certificate of Analysis) on our products came back with an even LOWER percentage of heavy metals in our products!

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We are fortunate to live in a country which has very high food and environmental standards! We use those standards as guideline for the products that we provide to our customers.

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Safety Data Sheets, Certificates of Analysis, and Product Data Sheets found on our website. 

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There are 4 main types of analysis done:

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Pesticides

Here we use the 96 pesticides that Health Canada requires Licensed Cannabis Producers (LPs) to monitor as our guide. Our facilities are completely free of any of the chemicals on this list; further, we only use suppliers for our base ingredients who have systems in place to prevent contamination.  

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The numbers in the Pesticides section of our COAs are expressed in parts per million (PPB). First off, PPB is an incredibly low concentration, the equivalent of 1 milligram of a substance dissolved in a liter of water.  Since analytical chemistry doesn't like to use zero level concentrations, the numbers expressed are at the minimal detection limit. 

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Heavy Metals

Heavy metals are present in the environment and can be anything from metals like zinc and copper which are essential for human and plant life, to ones like mercury and lead which can cause neurological damage. Small doses of heavy metals are pretty much unavoidable since they are widespread in the environment. Keep in mind the first rule of toxicology, "the dose makes the poison", which means as long as we do everything possible to minimize exposure the small amounts we consume shouldn't be a problem.

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Again, most of the more dangerous ones are at the minimum detectable level, which is essentially zero, but there may be occasionally one which has levels going slightly over the detectable limit. 

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On this section of Future Harvests COA, some products might show elevated levels of copper, zinc, boron, molybdenum, or manganese. This is intentional and reflects the addition in the form of a micronutrient! Some of these elements are essential to plant life. Click HERE to read more about the essential micro and macro nutrients your plant needs to survive. 

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Bacteria

Coliforms and Salmonella are the specific types of bacteria that we test for. Their presence could indicate contamination from either sewage or animal manure. While some coliforms, and definitely Salmonella, are pathogens, their presence could be an alarm for other organisms which could pose a greater risk. 

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While Future Harvest is slowly getting into products that could be used in organic production, we are very particular about the base ingredients we use.  Animal waste is too big of a contamination risk to be used in any of our products, so we avoid using it in any of our formulations.

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Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons

This is a new analysis for Future Harvest! While it is not regulated in Canada, it is in the European Union. We sell our products in the UK, and therefore we like to be compliant with their regulations.

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When carbon sources have been in the ground for a very long time these compounds form. They are similar chemically to benzene, which means they can cause cancer and birth defects.  

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The only products which this contaminant could potentially be found in would be our humate products: Surge Plus, Royal Black, and Royal Gold. Humates have been in the ground for 350 million years which is more than enough time for these compounds to form.

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Example Certificate Analysis for Holland Secret Micro

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Future Harvest is doing our best to raise the bar when it comes to testing of contaminants. As time goes on, no doubt we'll be adding more tests and protocols in order to help protect the public and our natural resources!

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You can find our COAs, SDSs, PDS, and more under the DOWNLOADS section of our website. 
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Click HERE 

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Any questions? Email us at marketing@futureharvest.com or send us a message on Instagram @futureharvestdevelopment and we will help you as best we can!

    Published by Loren Price

    Bio:
    Loren, the Director of Fertilizer Technology at Future Harvest, grew up on a mixed grain and cattle farm in North West Saskatchewan. He went on to study biotechnology and worked in agrosciences in Saskatoon for several years before moving on to Future Harvest and the hydroponic plant food industry. Starting off in fertilizer production, his focus is now on fertilizer formulations and regulatory affairs. His areas of expertise include: agronomy, analytical chemistry, plant tissue culture, plant breeding, molecular biology, and plant nutrition. Outside of work, Loren collects vintage concert T-shirts and is an amateur craft brewer specializing in historical and lesser known styles of beer.

    E-Mail: loren@futureharvest.com

  • Apr 27, 2021
  • Category: Articles
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