The document as it stands was a collaboration between AHPA and GNC, which incorporated a significant portion of previous material developed by AHPA and added some of its own. AHPA had previously issued a document on Good Collection Practices. GNC took the move to issue the GMP document as a response to a lawsuit filed by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. AHPA took over gathering comments on the proposal and managed the revision process.
“We first issued this document in 2006 and it was a very good document but it lacked an industry embrace,” McGuffin told NutraIngredients-USA. The first draft of the document was developed in collaboration with the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia.
The ideas behind the new document, titled Good Agricultural and Collection Practices and Good Manufacturing Practices for Botanical Materials, are already being used by GNC in its relations with its vendors. McGuffin said at least five AHPA member companies will start using the procedures recommended in the document to see where they currently stand and how the recommendations play out in the field.
“We were talking with the folks at GNC who were highly encouraging for us to move this out of the AHPA office and into the supply chain,” McGuffin said. “That’s why we decided to create a mechanism whereby companies can assess their compliance.”
Practices have wide-ranging impacts
AHPA said in a statement that agricultural and collection practices have wide-ranging impacts on product quality, native and regional communities, and the environment and AHPA members have long supported the need for best practices to be clearly described and documented. This guidance serves as a template that growers, harvesters, and processors can adapt to their operations and is designed for small and large producers. The guidance and assessment program will help the industry ensure that herbal raw materials used in consumer products are accurately identified, not adulterated with contaminants that may present a public health risk, and fully conform to all quality characteristics for which they are represented.
The guidance is not a list of required prescriptions but rather a menu of options. Users are encouraged to identify those sections of the document that are relevant to their operations, and should carefully review those provisions in light of their own circumstances and needs. After due consideration, users should implement whichever recommendations are useful and practical for their situation.
This guidance document is intended to complement the empirical knowledge that has been passed down from preceding generations involved in the cultivation, wild collection, and processing of useful plants. The industry is encouraged to give due consideration to long-established practices in growing, harvesting and processing herbs.
“Eventually we hope to have dozens and dozens of companies working with the assessment. We definitely want to see this adopted industry-wide,” McGuffin said.