Dry labbing is a practice whereby research or analysis is claimed to be done, but in reality the conclusions are guessed at or copied from other sources without actually doing any analysis.
In an interview with NutraIngredients-USA last year, Jaksch warned of the Dateline NBC exposé on the issue. When the national broadcaster finally ran the segment in March, there was an initial flurry of responses by industry players, but then discussion about the topic went quiet.
Jaksch joined us again at the recent SupplySide West show in Las Vegas to update us on the issue: “Dry labbing has not gone away,” he said. “It seems to have actually mushroomed in certain ways, and it’s changed in certain ways.
“We’re not seeing the same blatant dry labbing that was exposed in the Dateline piece.”
“The labs that were participating in this have metamorphosed into what I would call selective dry labs, meaning that they are not necessarily as blatant a practice as the lab that was exposed, they are now doing some dry labbing and a little bit of testing and trying to make it difficult for a company to pin it on them.”
And the industry response?
“It was bit disappointing in the fact that it was just shuffled under the papers, let’s move on and there are bigger things. Listen, these companies process thousands of samples a year, and that means that there are thousands of samples receiving fictitious results. That is not a positive. You are ending up with product that could be potentially tainted with something that shouldn’t be there.”
“There is an expansion of drug tainting in the market right now, and that’s a real problem. We’re not only seeing sibutramine and Viagra, we’re also starting to see ephedra or ephedra-related alkaloids starting to creep back in again.”
“I don’t want to blow the whole thing out of proportion, that’s not the point, but the reason why I think it is something that should be focused on is that, although some people perceive this to be a small problem, it’s actually a very easy problem to fix.”