Herbalife bolsters science staff with hire of AHPA's Dentali

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Herbalife bolsters science staff with hire of AHPA's Dentali

Related tags: Quality control

Herbalife, the global direct selling nutritional products giant, continues to bolster its scientific staff with the addition of Steven Dentali, PhD, who is taking on the newly created role of vice president for botanical sciences.

Dentali will oversee the identification, documentation and formulation of botanical ingredients, which is a high area of concern for Herbalife as the company sources more than 200 botanicals for its range of products. Botanicals have also been identified as an area of high risk by the Food and Drug Adminstration because of adulteration issues, whether accidental or economically motivated.

Dentali was most recently the chief scientific officer for the American Herbal Products Association.

Commitment to science

Dentali’s hire is part of an ongoing commitment the company has made to back its products and product claims with science. The first step in the process was to hire Vasilos (Bill) Frankos, PhD, in 2010. Frankos had spent more than 14 years at FDA, most recently as the head of the Office of Dietary Supplements.

Frankos said during his hiring process he probed the company’s management on its commitment to improving the scientific underpinning of its product range. Herbalife had grown, and continues to grow by leaps and bounds, and in some cases the scientific validation backing certain products was thin.

“When I left FDA, I was interested in doing something that would benefit the consumer,”​ Frankos told NutraIngredients-USA. “I did feel that there was a commitment (at Herbalife) to doing things right, but also that there needed to be change.”

Herbalife continued to add to its scientific expertise with the addition of Andrew Shao, PhD, in 2011.  Shao most recently had been the chief scientific officer of the Council for Responsible Nutrition.

Dentali will help Herbalife further develop its seed to feed program, in which the company is seeking to control the sourcing and production of botanical ingredients from the moment of germination right through to the finished product.

“If you are going to have a high quality product, you need to monitor it every step of the way,”​ Frankos said.

Industry experience

While at AHPA, Dentali helped to set quality standards for the botanical products industry and provide guidance and advice to AHPA member companies, related organizations, government agencies, scientific publications, and the media. Prior to that, Dentali held a number of scientific, quality assurance and product development roles for companies such as Rexall Sundown, Inc. and Trout Lake Farm.

Dentali is the second high profile staffer to have left AHPA in recent weeks.  Earlier in June, the United Natural Products Alliance announced that former AHPA communications director Frank Lampe had joined UNPA in a similar position.

An upcoming NutraIngredients-USA article will examine Herbalife’s quality assurance improvements in greater detail.

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