In the past several months, the quality and integrity of the herbal products industry have been called into question, most recently by the New York attorney general, who alleged wide spread adulteration and concerns regarding the identity of ingredients in herbal supplement products. One of the industry's oldest and most established herbal companies, Nature's Way Brands (Green Bay, Wis.), this week is bringing together a number of its botanical raw material suppliers to attend a botanical ingredient identification seminar to be conducted by Roy Upton, herbalist and executive director of the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP). The seminar specifically will focus on improving accountability regarding botanical identification in the supply chain.
According to Travis Borchardt, Nature's Way Brands vice president of regulatory affairs and quality assurance/quality control, "We feel it is important to use our purchasing power to build stronger relations with the supply chain and, in addition to our own testing program, encourage suppliers to do the same. We requested AHP to conduct this seminar because, with their monographs, they have set the bar for what industry should be paying attention to in terms of all aspects of botanical raw material identity, quality assessment and testing. While dietary supplement manufacturers must adhere to Federal dietary supplement GMPs that require that a valid identity test be performed on each batch of every botanical dietary ingredient, the supply chain was exempted, and that is where quality starts and where you have the best chance to validate the identity of the plant."
The all-day workshop is bringing together an industry-leading dietary supplement manufacturer in Nature's Way and the top botanical ingredient suppliers from around the globe. The workshop will include more than 50 participants, from CEOs to quality control (QC) technicians, and will have two tracks: the first, designed specifically for QC personnel, will focus on the identification of botanical raw materials and increasing the accountability of botanical identification documentation in the supply chain. The second is designed for executives and will cover supply chain accountability, new product development and overall supply chain management opportunities.
In addition to providing specific botanical identification training and underscoring the importance of GMP compliance to executives, Nature's Way Brands will be adopting, and announcing to their vendors, a set of policies regarding botanical identification accountability as a requirement of purchasing. According to Upton, "Trainings and policies like this have great potential to increase the integrity of the entire botanical supply chain and should be looked at as a model for other manufacturers to emulate. It is clear from all assessments of dietary supplement GMP compliance that improvement is needed. Whether using crude botanicals or extracts, it all starts with the identity, purity, and quality of botanical raw material and the ability to use classical botanical pharmacognosy skills to make an appropriate assessment."