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Program to address adulteration of botanical ingredients.

Experts will produce white papers to guide industry and protect consumers.

Three leading non-profit organizations--the American Botanical Council (ABC), the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP) and the University of Mississippi's National Center for Natural Products Re-search (NCNPR)--have initiated a large-scale program to educate members of the herbal and dietary supplement industry about in-gredient and product adulteration.

Responsible parties in the herbal and dietary supplement com-munity have become increasingly concerned about the suspected and confirmed practice of adulteration of numerous ingredients. The existence of adulteration raises questions about the identity and quality of some popular herbal ingredients sold in dietary sup-plements in the U.S. and in other botanical products (e.g., medi-cines, cosmetics, etc.) in global markets.

"There is a major problem in the global herb and dietary supple-ments industry in which there appears to be a persistent availability of adulterated herbs, herbal extracts, essential oils and other plant-derived dietary ingredients," said Mark Blumenthal, ABC founder and executive director.

Adulteration of botanical ingredients can be accidental or deliber-ate. The ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program will focus on both accidental adulteration that occurs as a result of poor quality-control procedures, as well as the intentional adulteration of plant-based products for financial gain. FDA has held a public con-ference on this issue, which the agency named "economically moti-vated adulteration" (EMA). This industry-funded program aspires to serve as a self-regulatory mechanism for industry to address adul-teration problems through education rather than federal regulation.

Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations defines adulteration as the "Addition of an impure, cheap or unnecessary ingredient to cheat, cheapen or falsify an ingredient or preparation." The Code also considers a product adulterated "if any substance has beenadded thereto or mixed or packed therewith so as to increase its bulk or weight, or reduce its quality or strength, or make it appear better or of greater value than it is."

The ABC-AHP-NCNPR program aims to help protect consumers and responsible members of the herb and dietary supplement industry, as well as other manufacturers, by producing a series of de-tailed white papers, which will serve as an authoritative source of information on botanical adulterants with references to published official and unofficial analytical methods for companies and/or third-party laboratories to utilize to help detect the presence (or absence) of known adulterants.


In the program's first published paper, "A Brief History of Adulter-ation of Herbs, Spices, and Botanical Drugs," noted botanical ex-pert Steven Foster provides a history of accidental and intentional adulteration of botanical ingredients spanning the past two millen-nia. The article appears in ABC's journal HerbalGram {November issue number 92).

In addition to the series of white papers, The Adulterants Pro-gram will include contributions and consultations from some of the leading independent third-party laboratories with experience in quality control and botanical identification issues. The editorial committee, which will advise on all technical publications, includes expert scientists from various universities, government agencies and third-party analytical laboratories with extensive knowledge of herbal quality control. The Program is also being supported by sev-eral trade associations in the dietary supplement industry: the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the Natural Products As-sociation (NPA) and the United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA).
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Title Annotation:Industry News
Publication:Nutraceuticals World
Date:Dec 1, 2011
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