NOW Food's rapid screening tool to detect product adulteration

Scientists at NOW Foods have developed a method for screening dietary supplement ingredients for adulteration, giving the industry an important tool to address an increasingly problematic practice by fringe companies.

Scientists at NOW Foods have developed a method for screening dietary supplement ingredients for adulteration, giving the industry an important tool to address an increasingly problematic practice by fringe companies. A scientific report describing the method, Rapid screening test for adulteration in raw materials of dietary supplements, has been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, Vibrational Spectroscopy*.

FDA has launched a program to curb this growing problem, with support and assistance of the industry’s trade associations. Testing for adulteration has been difficult, and therefore has not been widely done.

“NOW scientists have devoted considerable resources to developing, validating, and publishing a new screening method to detect adulteration of dietary supplement ingredients with erectile dysfunction drugs, weight-loss drugs, or melamine and steroid compounds, which have been reported to be found in products and present a hazard to consumers,” said NOW Foods Technical Director Michael Lelah. “We hope our industry will consider using this simple approach to test for adulteration in their ingredients. NOW Foods has been using this tool for over a year to inspect sports supplement ingredients. It has insured that no adulterated products reached the marketplace.”

The method, which NOW has shared with FDA, AHPA, NPA, ABC, and NIH, utilizes existing equipment and software, is easy to use, requires minimal sample preparation, requires limited data interpretation, can be performed by non-technical personnel, has a short run time, and is functional across a wide range of raw materials and adulterants. The method requires only thirty seconds grinding in an analytical mill before performing the scan. Including milling the samples, the entire screening process can be performed in less than ten minutes per sample.
The growing problem of products being found to be adulterated with erectile dysfunction drugs, weight-loss drugs, melamine, and steroid compounds has fueled the charge that dietary products are “unregulated”. “We can help change this perception with this powerful new tool”, says Lelah.

* A.B. Champagne, K.V. Emmel, Rapid screening test for adulteration in raw materials of dietary supplements, Vibrational Spectroscopy (2010), doi:10.1016/j.vibspec.2010.11.009.

Founded by Elwood Richard in 1968, NOW has grown from a small, family operation to a highly respected, global manufacturer of natural health products. Today, NOW manufactures and distributes over 1,500 dietary supplements, natural foods, sports nutrition, and personal care products. NOW’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility has been GMP certified since 2000, and its quality testing labs are among the most advanced in the industry. The company has over 600 employees and its products are sold in more than 60 countries. For over 40 years, the company has remained family owned and operated, and committed to its original mission of providing value in products and services that empower people to lead healthier lives. For more information please visit www.NOWFoods.com.

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