Schneiderman pushed industry to ramp up quality game, Blumenthal said

By Hank Schultz contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Dietary supplement

The attacks on the dietary supplement industry orchestrated by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman have had beneficial effect, said American Botanical Council founder Mark Blumenthal. There is no denying the quality temperature is rising.

Blumenthal spoke with NutraIngredients-USA as the recent Supply Side West trade show in Las Vegas.  He spoke on Schneiderman’s actions, and specifically on his push to make DNA bar code testing the gold standard for identity testing within the industry.

“There is far more interest in quality control, there is more interest in product authentication, there is more interest in supply chain integrity all the way back to the source than I have heard in my 41 years within this community,” ​Blumenthal said.

Dealing with DNA

That’s the good news.  The not so good news concerns the DNA part, Blumenthal said. ABC was among the first organizations to provide a detailed rebuttal for Schneiderman’s first employment of the technology when he sent his first round of letters to GNC, Target, Walgreens and Walmart.  In that case, the DNA tests had been conducted in part on extracts, a not-fit-for-purpose employment of the technology.  In his second assault concerning the botanical Devil’s Claw, the DNA testing was applied appropriately, even if industry experts disputed the conclusions he drew from that.

In any case, Blumenthal said it’s time to start thinking about moving forward.

“There is a growing awareness that DNA is here to stay.  It’s going to become one of the required or preferred methodologies along those that already exist,”​ he said.

Blumenthal said he anticipated that some companies will adopt this testing approach because it is simply easier to give in to Schneiderman’s demands that pay the legal fees to fight them.  In other cases, it could become a valuable part of a company’s quality control procedures when used properly.

“We have to look at it as another tool in the tool box. It does not replace microscopy. It does not replace validated compendial methods,”​ Blumenthal said.

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