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August 18, 2022

Cleaner product: Madison firm launches antimicrobial system for cannabis growers

Contributed A picture of Precision X-Ray's SteriRad machine, its antimicrobial treatment system for cannabis.

A Connecticut X-ray manufacturing company recently launched a new product that it says helps clean cannabis before it heads to the market.

Madison-based Precision X-ray Inc. announced this week the launch of SteriRad, an antimicrobial X-ray system it says can kill mold and other unwanted growths on harvested cannabis buds and ground plants. The company said its new cabinet X-ray machine could help companies entering the state’s, and country’s, emerging cannabis market.
“The distributors that are getting their licenses through the state regulators have to pass a specific microbial count test before they’re allowed to dispense their products,” Precision X-ray Marketing Manager Debra Peris said.

Peris said the X-ray decontamination process is more effective than some of the other ways of cleaning cannabis, such as a gas-based ozone decontamination machine. X-rays offer a “cold process” for decontamination that doesn’t degrade the quality or levels of cannabinoids and terpenes in the product. Microbials and mold can have negative health impacts on people who consume them through smoking cannabis.

“Nothing is affected — the smell, the color, the taste —nothing is affected by X-ray unlike some of the other methods that can affect the qualities of the plant itself,” Peris said.

She said Precision’s method is a “deep clean” because X-rays penetrate what they’re going through. Other microbial cleaning methods might only clean the surface.

“As the X-ray passes through the cannabis plant, it’s actually killing the microbes not only on the surface of the plant but also deep seated within the plant,” Peris said.

The SteriRad doesn’t come cheap — Peris said the cabinet X-ray machines start at about $150,000 — but the potential for long-term savings for companies is real. Many companies do internal cleaning then send their product to an additional lab for microbial testing, but the potential of putting out a product that doesn’t meet standards could result in pounds of wasted product or destroyed harvests. By using SteriRad, a cultivator could deep clean their own products and avoid those risks, the company says.

“That can set you back — you’re losing product, losing profit, and losing reputation,” Peris said.

Precision X-ray was founded in North Branford and touts itself as the largest global manufacturer of cabinet X-ray irradiation systems. Peris said the company is eyeing small to medium sized cultivators as its core customer base.

No product can fully remove all microbes found in cannabis, but Peris said Precision’s new product gets close.

“We’re actually leveraging the technology that we’ve been using for 20 years, and kind of taken out the guts and recreated it for cannabis,” Peris said.

In 2021, the company bought a 41,718-square-foot light industrial building on a 4-acre parcel at 14 New Rd. in Madison for $2.1 million and relocated its operations amid growth.

New Haven Biz Managing Editor Liese Klein contributed to this story.

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