Contracting with a lab for testing is nothing new. What’s different about the Sabinsa-Eurofins partnership is that the lab will use the validated methods Sabinsa has developed in its own extensive laboratories to test its ingredients. Branded ingredients developed along specific lines frequently need their own, fit-for-purpose tests, said Anurag Pande, PhD, vice president of scientific affairs for Sabinsa.
“Proprietary ingredients often have to be tested using specific methods, otherwise there can be confusion created by false ID testing fails. It made sense for us to have a lab that knows which test methods we use to test our ingredients,” Pande told NutraIngredients-USA.
Room for growth
Having Eurofins on board with the program will boost both its throughput capacity and credibility, Pande said. As the demand for Sabinsa’s products is expanding both in volume and geographic footprint, it made sense to work with a lab that could accommodate that growth, he said.
“Brands are required to confirm identity as part of the GMP compliance. While the supplier or vendors provide a Certificate of Analysis with every batch of material, contract manufacturer and finished product marketing companies still are required to do their due diligence in testing the supplier’s material. Not all finished product manufacturers are equipped to do this in house, or can only test certain things in house, so using third party testing labs is common,” he said.
“Since we sell globally, it further made sense to work with an international lab with multiple locations,” Pande added.
Pande said Sabinsa has developed its methods for the assay of active components in herbal products using ICH guidelines for all major parameters including specificity, precision and accuracy.
The proprietary methods that Eurofins will use include tests specific to branded herbal ingredients such as Curcumin C3 Complex, BioPerine and ForsLean as well as an enumeration method for LactoSpore, Sabinsa’s branded form of the spore-forming probiotic organism Bacillus coagulans.
Removing the lingering questions
Pande said Sabinsa wanted to demonstrate leadership on the testing end of the botanical supply business. A Certificate of Analysis, even backed with the analytical power of internal labs as comprehensive as Sabinsa’s, still rests on whether a supplier can be trusted or not. Having a third party lab involved takes that potential confounding factor out of the equation. As the old saying goes, trust, but verify.
“We have seen an increase in testing and read reports from others in the industry that see ID testing growing as well. Since the NY AG / New York Times controversy a few years ago, there has been more industry focus on proactively ensuring that ID testing is being done more often, and by more proficient labs. At Sabinsa we feel that this proactive approach will bring more transparency to the supply chain and will thus increase confidence of consumers,” Pande said.
Testing can facilitate global market entry
Pande said the testing partnership will set Sabinsa up well for the increasingly interconnected global marketplace.
“Different regulatory bodies, whether in EU, Australia, US or Canada, regulate supplements or functional food differently, however testing of material has a common goal to make sure that the health supplements or functional food using them are properly identified, free from adulteration and thus safe to consume. To attain this goal, testing of individual ingredients, or finished product is advised to be done rigorously and with validated methods,” he said.