The ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program has reached the milestone of having more than 100 underwriters and endorsers. They include some of the biggest names in the botanical and dietary supplement community, including botanical dietary ingredient suppliers, supplement manufacturers, trade and professional associations, colleges and universities, analytical laboratories, contract research organizations, media companies and law firms.
Three leading nonprofit organizations—the American Botanical Council (ABC), the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP) and the University of Mississippi’s National Center for Natural Products Research (NCNPR)—initiated this ongoing program in 2011 to educate members of the herbal and dietary supplement industry and numerous other stakeholders about ingredient and product authenticity and adulteration.
“We are deeply gratified by the huge outpouring of support that we have received on this vitally needed educational program,” said Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of ABC, and program manager. “Wherever we have gone to solicit financial, technical and other types of support, we have almost always received a positive response. This reflects the high level of concern that many responsible elements in the herb and natural health community have about the quality and reliability of herbal supplements, teas, etc.”
The ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program focuses on both accidental adulteration that may occur due to inadequate quality-control procedures, as well as intentional adulteration of plant-based ingredients for financial gain. In an industry that saw sales rise 4.5 percent in 2011 to an estimated figure of nearly $5.3 billion in herbal dietary supplement product retail sales in the United States alone, documented cases of adulteration of raw materials, i.e., problems related to ingredient authenticity and quality, is a growing concern.
The primary intention of the ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program is to help protect consumers and responsible members of the herb and dietary supplement industry, as well as other manufacturers, from purchasing adulterated raw materials. This is done by the Program’s publishing a series of detailed articles that serve as an authoritative source of information on botanical adulterants. To date, four papers on the topic of botanical adulteration have been published in ABC’s quarterly scientific, peer-reviewed journal HerbalGram.
In addition to the articles, the Adulterants Program includes 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 advises 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 also is being supported by leading trade associations in the dietary supplement industry, including the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, the Council for Responsible Nutrition, the Natural Products Association and the United Natural Products Alliance.