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Transparency is making headway — but is it enough?

By Hank Schultz

05-Sep-2017
Last updated on 06-Sep-2017 at 15:23 GMT2017-09-06T15:23:09Z

© iStock/Grufnar
© iStock/Grufnar

Transparency is becoming more of a watchword for the industry, says Mark Blumenthal of the American Botanical Council.  Whether it's a word to live by or to hide behind is the question, he said.

Is the industry really getting better in this regard? Or is there an ever-present froth of shady players, companies that make a few bucks, perhaps dodge a warning letter or two and then are gone?

“I think it’s combination of the two,” Blumenthal, ABC’s founder and executive director, told NutraIngredients-USA. “I think the concept of transparency is more widely communicated and understood by a larger portion of the industry. It may also be true that companies are using the terms transparency and sustainability as mere marketing terms.”

Blumenthal’s colleague Stefan Gafner, PhD, ABC’s chief science officer, will join a panel  of industry experts who will delve into the subject during a free online webinar to be hosted by NutraIngredients-USA on Sept. 21.  The webinar will look at why brands should care about this concept and will look at recent efforts by the industry to boost transparency.  Among these are ABC’s series of Botanical Adulterants Program publications, one of which, on the adulteration of Tea Tree Oil, will publish next week  Also covered will be the Botanical GMPs document that was developed by the American Herbal Products Association in cooperation with GNC.  The webinar will also delver into the inauguration of the Supplement OWL, a cooperative industry wide effort that was spearheaded by the Council for Responsible Nutrition.  This database will make it easier for regulators, consumers and other interested parties to see what products are in the market and what they contain.

The panel, which will be moderated by this reporter, consists of:

  • Stefan Gafner, PhD, chief science officer of the American Botanical Council. Gafner received his degree in pharmacy at the School of Pharmacy, University of Berne, Switzerland and did postdoctoral work at the University of Illinois – Chicago.  Gafner has taken a lead in the publication of ABC’s adulteration documents.
  • Suzanne Shelton, principal in the Shelton Group. As a consultant to some of the top brands in the dietary supplement industry, Suzanne has been a longtime champion of best practices in the industry.
  • Edward J. Fletcher, Director of Quality & Sustainability at Herbal Ingenuity. He is a current AHPA a board member and as chair of the Botanical Raw Materials committee he helped spearhead the development of the AHPA/GNC document.
  • Steve Mister, president and CEO of the Council for Responsible Nutrition.  Steve has helped spearhead the institution of the Supplement OWL label database, an industry-wide effort to boost transparency about what products are in the market and what ingredients they contain.

Online transparecny forum

To register for NutraIngredients-USA’s FREE webinar, scheduled for Sept. 21, 2017, click here .

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