Nonprofits join forces to tackle botanical adulteration

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Botanical adulterants program, American botanical council, Adulterant

Nonprofits join forces to tackle botanical adulteration
Three leading not-for-profit organizations have joined forces to create an education program to help the dietary supplements trade wise up to the tricks used by unscrupulous suppliers to adulterate botanicals.

The program, developed by the American Botanical Council (ABC), the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP), and the University of Mississippi’s National Center for Natural Products Research (NCNPR), will also address unintentional adulteration resulting from poor quality control procedures, said ABC executive director Mark Blumenthal.

“There is a major problem in the global herb and dietary supplements industry in which there appears to be a persistent availability of adulterated herbs, herbal extracts, essential oils, and other plant-derived dietary ingredients.”

An authoritative source of information on botanical adulterants

The ABC-AHP-NCNPR program will produce a series of white papers designed to serve as an authoritative source of information on botanical adulterants.

The papers will highlight frequently-used adulterants for key botanicals, warn supplement firms and third-party laboratories what to look out for when analyzing botanicals and offer expert commentary about appropriate testing methodologies, he said.

“The ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program will provide industry quality control laboratories and independent third-party labs the numerous tools and resources they need on how to identify many of the adulterants that are being documented in various herbal and plant-derived dietary ingredients​."

While con artists would always find more sophisticated ways to adulterate supplements to make a fast buck, the program was designed to help the trade fight back and serve as a “self-regulatory mechanism for industry to address adulteration problems through education rather than federal regulation​”, he added.

‘Ingredients that used to pass manufacturer specifications are now failing when proper identity and quality tests are applied’

The program, which is supported by the Council for Responsible Nutrition, the Natural Products Association, and the United Natural Products Alliance, will also include contributions and consultations from leading independent third-party laboratories with experience in quality control and botanical identification issues.

AHP executive director Roy Upton said: “With GMPs in full force there are now a lot of companies realizing that the supply chain for ingredients that pass identity and quality good manufacturing practice requirements has shrunk dramatically.

“Ingredients that used to readily pass manufacturer specifications are now failing when proper identity and quality tests are applied.”

In the program’s first published paper, ‘A Brief History of Adulteration of Herbs, Spices, and Botanical Drugs’, botanical expert Steven Foster will cover a history of accidental and intentional adulteration of botanical ingredients spanning the past two millennia.

Click here​ to listen to Mark Blumenthal discussing economic adulteration at SupplySide East earlier this year.

Related topics: Suppliers, Botanicals

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