AHPA Provides Industry Tools for Authentic Bilberry

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) is providing analytical tools and methods to identify adulteration of powdered raw materials labeled as bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) extract. There are well-established scientifically valid methods to determine the presence of red dye in materials purported to be powdered bilberry extracts. They are provided now as immediately available practical tools for industry in order to deal appropriately with reports of adulteration of this ingredient and make wise purchasing decisions.

One method is a fairly simple procedure of raising the pH of dilute bilberry extract; the resulting color change from red to blue indicates the presence of anthocyanins. The other method utilizes high-performance thin-layer chromatography (HPTLC) to provide a visual image that separates anthocyanins from amaranth dye (red dye no. 2) that has been discovered as an adulterant in some powdered material labeled as bilberry extract.

"AHPA is providing methods to help enable proper evaluations of materials where identity and quality issues are known to exist," said Steven Dentali, PhD, AHPA’s vice president of scientific and technical affairs. "By providing these analytical methods, we will help companies make better ingredient purchasing decisions."

Disseminating these quality assurance methods is part of AHPA’s ongoing initiative to provide practical tools that enable the dietary supplements industry to self-regulate. AHPA developed this and other pro-active solutions for industry issues by drawing upon the expertise of its staff and member companies. For bilberry, AHPA appreciates the contributions of member companies MediHerb for the technical work and CAMAG Scientific Inc. for the HPTLC method.

The methods, along with color images of the results, are on the AHPA website: http://www.ahpa.org/Default.aspx?tabid=164. An article from Nutraceuticals World by Dr Dentali, as well as links to salient article abstracts and monographs are also available as resources.

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) is the only national trade association devoted to herbal issues. Representing the core of the botanical trade—comprised of the finest growers, processors, manufacturers and marketers of herbal products—our mission is to promote the responsible commerce of herbal products. AHPA committees generate self-regulations to ensure the highest level of quality with respect to the way herbal products are manufactured, labeled, and sold. Celebrating our 25th anniversary in 2007! Website: www.ahpa.org.

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