The company has established standards and makes these published standards available to the rest of the industry. It might take a year or two to establish standards, but then once that's done, rapid screening tests make it relatively quick and easy for others to follow. Third-party testing labs use similar methods, making NOW Foods fairly unique in being its own testing lab as well as manufacturer both for its own products as well as a contract manufacturer for hundreds of other private-label brands.
"If it's on the label, we have a test," said Neil Levin, NOW's nutrition education manager. "All raw materials get tested also as finished products."
Examples include solvents, pesticides, enzymes and botanical marker compounds.
The EPA sets acceptable levels of heavy metals and other non-nutritive chemicals, and the FDA enforces it. NOW sets standards across a range of ingredients and classes.