ABC in 2023: Support for ‘Burn it, don’t return it’ SOP, 40 years of HerbalGram, (& HerbTV)

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags American botanical council botanical extracts Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program Herbal dietary supplements Unmetered

It’s a year of milestones for the American Botanical Council, with the non-profit celebrating its 35th year, the 40th year for HerbalGram, wider acceptance of the ‘historic’ BAPP SOP, and new initiatives like (shhhhh, it’s a secret) HerbTV.

Mark Blumenthal, ABC’s founder and executive director, sat down with NutraIngredients-USA at the recent Expo West in Anaheim to talk us through the organization’s many initiatives, starting with the ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program (BAPP) Best Practices Standardized Operating Procedure (SOP) for the Disposal / Destruction of Irreparably Defective Articles (IDAs).

The SOP, which has been called “historic”, has “gotten a very positive response from the industry, and beyond the industry,” said Blumenthal.

Nicknamed “Burn it, don’t return it”, the SOP provides businesses with a framework to remove IDAs from the supply chain forever.

“There are people within our industry who are best practice companies, ethical, responsible companies, who understand that if they have something in their quarantine area of their warehouse, quarantined incoming ingredients – botanical or otherwise, because the SOP applies across the board to all kinds of ingredients and articles – subject to release by the quality control department, and quality control finds something wrong,” explained Blumenthal.

“[This could be] it’s adulterated beyond the ability to be lawfully remediated or reconditioned or if it’s contaminated… then the SOP would kick in… then a certified third party comes and picks that material up, takes it to a landfill or incinerator to dispose of it, so that material can never again enter into the supply chain for human consumption.”

Blumenthal said that ABC believes that businesses have an ethical and moral obligation to not send that material back to the supplier.

“It allows responsible, ethical business managers to remove it [the Irreparably Defective Article] from the supply chain because the GMP rules in the United States and around the world are unfortunately absent about this procedure,” he said.

“There are many, many good quality consumer products, and high-quality suppliers that make high quality, reliable, authentic botanical ingredients… and many companies that use best practices already have the least statistical chance that this problem would happen to them – so this is not going to happen to most best practice companies – but things can happen.”


In addition to being the 35th​ anniversary of ABC, 2023 marks the 40th​ year of HerbalGram​, ABC’s peer-reviewed journal.

HerbalGram “started out as a newsletter that Rob McCaleb, who at the time was the head of the laboratories at Celestial Seasonings, and I started for the then-very fledgling American Herbal Products Association… Five years later we took HerbalGram and put it under the aegis of the American Botanical Council.”


Blumenthal also gave us a brief overview of a new program called HerbTV that the association will officially announce soon.

“It is currently a YouTube channel that is not yet branded for ABC, we’re working on that. We’re producing video, we’re compiling and curating videos from other sources. HerbTV we hope will become a major portal for reliable herb information through video, because people are more and more getting information and becoming educated using video input as a primary source of information.”

Watch the video for more.

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