Supplier sued over fake hoodia

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Hoodia

The quality of the hoodia gordonii supply chain has once
again been brought into question after a Kansas-based contract
manufacturer sued one of its suppliers for selling fake
material.

Certified Natural Laboratories is suing New Jersey-based Stryka Botanics for $75,000 in losses and other damages after it determined a $40,000 shipment was not in fact hoodia but some other material. Certified is also considering expanding the suit to include all Stryka customers in a class-action lawsuit. Stryka president Brian McNally told NutraIngredients-USA.com his company would fight the law suit "all the way to the bitter end". "We stand by our products 100 per cent and while we haven't seen the details of the law suit, we will thoroughly investigate it and defend ourselves appropriately,"​ he said. Stryka sources its hoodia from China and South Africa and continues to supply the appetite suppressant to more than 10 customers. "We were shocked by this suit,"​ McNally said. "We have never been sued before and have more than 1400 clients."Hoodia are you? ​ Certified Natural Laboratories said it had been supplied with hoodia extracts and powders by Stryka since 2004, but was alarmed in August 2006 when the $40,000 shipment arrived without accompanying third-party authentication paperwork. Certified said it requested the paperwork several times from Stryka and was eventually sent documents claiming the material was indeed hoodia, but verified by Stryka's own in-house laboratory, not a third-party tester. Certified then had the material tested and found it was fraudulent. Stryka disputes this and McNally said the paperwork for the disputed batch was no different to that which preceded it. Certified was unavailable for comment by the time of publication of this story. As obesity rates have spiraled across both the developed and developing world, weight management has risen as a concern and weight management products are estimated to be worth $7b globally. Hoodia has risen to prominence on the back of scientifically-backed satiety benefits and has attracted the interest major food players such as Unilever. The food giant has signed a deal with UK-based supplier Phytopharm and hopes to have a hoodia product on-market, probably under its $500m Slimfast brand by 2011. However, the rise of the ingredient has led to an influx of new suppliers, some of them less than scrupulous, and leading to a situation where sightings of fake hoodia have become commonplace. Recognizing the situation, Phytopharm last year issued a statement that said: "Analysis of these products has demonstrated that the great majority of them contain little or no Hoodia. Phytopharm and Unilever have made contact with the relevant authorities concerning this development and aresatisfied with the progress being made to limit these activities."

Related topics: Suppliers, Polyphenols, Weight management

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