BAPP was founded in 2011 by the nonprofit American Botanical Council (ABC) in partnership with the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP) and the National Center for Natural Products Research (NCNPR) at the University of Mississippi. The program’s ultimate goal is to help ensure the authenticity of botanical ingredients in consumer products.
NutraIngredients-USA caught up with Mark Blumenthal, founder and Executive Director of ABC and founder of BAPP and Stefan Gafner, ABC’s chief science officer and BAPP’s technical director, on the past 10 years’ main achievements, and what comes next.
In terms of success, an informal survey of 115 BAPP supporters, including 50 members from the dietary supplement industry, revealed that nearly half (24) of the industry representatives responded that they had implemented new quality control measures due to BAPP publications, 15 said they had revised their ingredient specifications, and 18 said they had changed ingredient suppliers based on information provided by BAPP.
“We’re definitely very happy that the program has an impact. The idea at the get-go was to have a program that helps to change the industry for the benefit of the consumer,” Gafner told NutraIngredients-USA. “And the fact we get feedback from companies that they have changed specifications or that they have changed suppliers, that makes my work much more valuable… I believe it’s a successful program.”
“We’re super grateful for the really strong support that we’ve received from a variety of people and companies and organizations that represent and reflect the responsible elements in this community,” added Blumenthal.
“We want to make sure that wherever in the world anybody is, as long as they register on our site, they can download 63 – and soon 64, 65 – peer-reviewed documents for free that can help them produce a better product by ensuring the quality, the authenticity, the identity of their ingredients.
“We’re going to have to keep on keeping on, because this isn’t over. Ten years is just 10 years.”
Burn it, don’t return it
Blumenthal and Gafner also discussed progress with the BAPP Best Practices Contract Language and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the Disposal or Destruction of Irreparably Defective Articles.
The SOP is an industry self-regulatory tool to assist responsible botanical industry companies in removing adulterated ingredients — referred to as “irreparably defective articles” — from the global botanical supply chains/
In a press release from ABC, natural product industry regulatory consultant Michael Levin, primary author of the BAPP supply contract and SOP, stated: “While the dietary supplement industry has a requirement to report serious adverse events to the FDA, there is no similar requirement, or even guidance, for buyers to manage irreparably defective ingredients that are economically adulterated in the United States and elsewhere.
“In 2021, BAPP will empower stakeholders to address this regulatory guidance gap by providing carefully vetted contract and SOP templates that supply chain partners can adapt for use in supply contracts. In so doing, both buyers and sellers of ingredients will have a contractual agreement that mutually assures destruction of defective ingredients that cannot be lawfully remediated, thus preventing their reentry into commerce.”
“A major achievement”
Commenting on the program’s first 10 years, Professor Ikhlas Khan, PhD, Director of NCNPR stated: “We are very pleased to be part of BAPP which has been serving the global medicinal plant research and industry communities for a decade, addressing the issue of adulteration and fraud, and providing invaluable and highly reliable educational materials for everyone involved.”
Roy Upton, founder and president of AHP commented: “AHP has always believed that educating industry about the prevalence of botanical adulteration, and more importantly, providing solutions, is a key to safeguarding public health. After 10 years, I can honestly say that various segments of the industry have made changes needed to minimize the incidence of adulteration. There will always be those who intentionally trade in fraudulent materials for economic gain. For those who want to do it right, BAPP has made it much easier. For those who don’t, the FDA hopefully is watching.”
Industry veteran Loren Israelsen, president of the United Natural Products Alliance added: "Intentional adulteration is the bane of the botanical industry and has been for centuries. The American Botanical Council recognized this problem as central to their mission and to the reputation of our industry and trust of our consumers. BAPP has now completed its 10th year and has become the essential science-based resource for information and tools to detect and remove adulterants from commerce. This is a major achievement. There is much work to be done. I salute ABC, AHP, and NCNPR for their determination to openly address and commit to resolving this persistent scourge within our industry."
Please watch the video for video for more from Blumenthal and Gafner.