Special edition: botanicals

GNC/AHPA raw materials program nears final review

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock
© iStock

Related tags Gnc Herbal

The botanical ingredients raw material GMP program started by GNC and managed by the American Herbal Products Association will be ready for final review in October, said an AHPA official.

Jane Wilson, AHPA’s director of program development, told NutraIngredients-USA that the final draft of the document for approval by the group’s board at its meeting at the SupplySide West trade show in Las Vegas, NV in October.  The program started with its surprise introduction by GNC in February at an industry meeting. GNC put the plan together in response to actions against the company by New York Attorney Eric Schneiderman, who had alleged that GNC was selling herbal products that contained little of any of the stated herb on the label. GNC, while not admitting any wrongdoing, came to an agreement with Schneiderman that included new initiatives within its supply chain. The GNC plan incorporated (with attribution) many portions of a previous AHPA document and the two came to an understanding that AHPA would manage the revision process for the document.

“We put a working group together and we had a comment period for members of the working group,” ​Wilson said.

“We have a meeting of the working group scheduled for Thursday (today) to go through the draft with the proposed changes. We anticipate having the draft approved by our board at that meeting in October,”​ Wilson said.

Guidance for some;  mandated for others

The final document will be a guidance for industry, Wilson said, not a condition of membership in AHPA. But for GNC it will form the basis for its relationships with its supply partners going forward.

In GNC’s pact with Schneiderman, the retailer agreed to look at how to incorporate DNA testing into its supply chain. The initial application of the technology in Schneiderman’s investigation was bitterly criticized by the industry as being not fit for purpose. Subsequently a consensus has formed around the idea that DNA may have some application at certain points in the supply chain, but finished products testing is not one of them.

“DNA testing is certainly mentioned. I think it’s described the way industry views DNA as a potentially useful tool, but as one tool among many other tools,”​ Wilson said.

Much of the document was based on a 2006 publication by AHPA, Wilson said, with new additions and revisions.

“A lot of the concepts from the good agricultural collection practice of the new document have their roots form the document from 2006. But there are some new things, such the kind of documentation a wild collection might need to have about the quality of the land they are collection their botanicals from. That would include things such as potential sources of pollution,” ​Wilson said.

Wilson said she was unsure of the timeline following final approval by the board but that she expected the final document to be issued ‘fairly quickly’ after the meeting in October.  Initiatives such as this sometime languish as busy business executives devote time to the effort where and when they can. In this case, Wilson said the participation was quick and energetic.

“For us it seemed like a somewhat accelerated time line,”​ she said.

Botanicals Slide

NutraIngredients-USA’s Botanicals Forum

Experts from Nature’s Way, the American Botanical Council, Herbalist & Alchemist, and GNC will discuss the challenges and opportunities in the botanicals section in NutraIngredients-USA’s Botanical Forum on September 29. The event is free to attend. For more details and to register, please click HERE​.

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1 comment

unique and productive collaboration

Posted by Edward J Fletcher,

This effort between a company and an industry membership organization is unique. The results on this project have been well worth the effort & energy and will ultimately benefit the whole industry and consumers

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