Term: Biological Contamination
Biological contamination occurs when food, including cannabis, becomes contaminated by living organisms or the substances they produce. This includes biological matter produced by humans, rodents, insects, and microorganisms. Biological contamination is the leading cause of foodborne illness and food poisoning, and a common cause of food spoilage and food waste.
There are six types of microorganisms that can cause food-borne illness: bacteria, viruses, parasites, protozoa, fungi, and prions. Common cannabis contaminants include microbes, heavy metals, and pesticides. Their direct human toxicity is poorly quantified but includes infection, carcinogenicity, and reproductive and developmental impacts.