The program, a collaboration of American Botanical Council, the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, and the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi, is supported by over 100 companies, independent laboratories, schools and institutes of natural medicine, media, law firms, and trade associations.
“We are deeply gratified by the huge outpouring of support that we have received on this vitally needed educational program,” said Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of ABC, and Program manager. “Wherever we have gone to solicit financial, technical, and other types of support, we have almost always received a positive response.
“This reflects the high level of concern that many responsible elements in the herb and natural health community — including, but not limited to, the herb and dietary supplement industry — have about the quality and reliability of herbal supplements, teas, etc.
“Even though it’s apparent that there are many authentic, high-quality, reliable ingredients and products, the fact remains that there are identity and quality problems that have persisted far too long, and now many of us are circling the wagons to reduce and hopefully eliminate some of the errors and fraud that exist in this field.”
In an industry that saw sales rise 4.5% in 2011 to an estimated figure of nearly $5.3 billion (USD) in herbal dietary supplement product retail sales in the United States alone, documented cases of adulteration of raw materials, i.e., problems related to ingredient authenticity and quality, is a matter of growing concern.
The Program helps protect consumers and responsible members of the herb and dietary supplement industry by publishing a series of detailed articles that serve as an authoritative source of information on botanical adulterants.
So far, the collaboration has published in-depth reviews on the issue of adulteration in grapefruit seed extracts (HerbalGram, 2012, 94:62-66), bilberry (HerbalGram, 2012, 96:64-73),skullcap (HerbalGram, 2012, 93:34-41), and a historical overview of the adulteration dilemma (HerbalGram, 2011, 92:42-57).
“We will continue to invite more companies, organizations, and others – both in the US and internationally – to join with us in this educational quest to increase knowledge about authenticity and adulteration problems,” said Blumenthal.
“Adulteration is an ancient and global problem. With increased education through an effective program, we believe we can significantly reduce, perhaps even eliminate, some of the problems in the market.”