CBD is one of the most challenging areas for product manufacturers today. We visited Star Manufacturing to learn how they are combining state-of-the-art technology with industry-leading best practices to produce safe, compliant products that exceed the expectations of their brand partners.
When you enter Star’s facility, you immediately notice that it feels more like a pharmaceutical company than a co-packing facility. The site boasts a 100,000-square-foot, FDA-registered and cGMP-certified manufacturing space. Star’s CEO earned his PhD in Pharmaceuticals from the University of Arizona and has been creating advanced cosmetics and dermatologicals for over 25 years.
Star’s formulation team includes two full-time cosmetic chemists that specialize in natural and organic products. On the day of our visit they are working on a new line of creams and salves formulated to bring relief to muscles and joints. Today, they are reviewing the ingredients where we learn that these products will need to conform to some of the industry’s highest standards as they’ll be sold at outlets including Sephora and Whole Foods.
As Star’s Vice President explained, “It all starts with Good Manufacturing Practices. We work closely with our producers, establishing third party testing procedures that ensure all of our materials are free from pesticides, residual solvents, heavy metals and that they’ve undergone anti-microbial testing.”
Star’s commitment to quality is evident in their ISO-certified, in-house testing laboratory. Each day, the lab performs dozens of tests to ensure each product and formulation have the correct proportion of ingredients. An extensive framework of SOPs confirms each product meets or exceeds the claims on its label.
The factory floor is laid out with manufacturing cells on either side of a long hallway that circles the building. Each manufacturing cell has large windows that enable visitors to see the products being made without compromising the production areas. An extensive HVAC system regulates temperature and humidity and creates positive pressure areas in the manufacturing cells acting as an invisible barrier to contaminants when doors are opened and closed.
Star has a broad range of capabilities. Two liquid fill lines produce as many as 75,000 30ml bottles each shift. Hot and cold fill stations produce lotions, moisturizers, creams, salves, and sticks. One cell is dedicated to chapstick, while others produce capsules, softgels, and nutritional gummies.
Everything at Star is done according to a highly detailed standard operating procedure (SOP). Software tracks each ingredient from the time and place it is purchased until it is placed in a product and leaves the factory. Technicians input notes detailing cleaning procedures and room conditions. The entire production process is a well-oiled machine ensuring the health and safety of every product made at Star.
By the time we conclude our tour, we have a new appreciation for all of the hard work and care that go into creating the products we take for granted on the stores of our shelves. Thank you to the team at Star for giving us the opportunity to see this exciting world.