SOUTH PLAINFIELD, N.J.--April 15, 2003--Cryogenics is best known as the process that keeps baseball legend Ted Williams' body frozen for posterity. But in South Plainfield, New Jersey, cryogenics -- cold temperature processing -- is making herbal products tastier and more potent.
"In most herbal processing plants, herbs often are accidentally `cooked' -- sometimes even ignited -- by the friction involved in grinding and pulverizing herbs for use in food products, pills and other consumer products," says Joseph R. Schortz, president and CEO of Quality Botanical Ingredients, Inc. (QBI), a leading manufacturer and processor of bulk botanical materials and nutritional ingredients. "Such `cooking' can alter the taste and reduce the potency of the material being processed."
"To assure both quality and safety," Schortz says, "QBI uses its own patented cryogenic processing system. The entire QBI pulverizing process occurs in an enclosed environment. We introduce liquid nitrogen, which forms a frigid gas that cools the air to a precise temperature. We also remove oxygen, which could promote fire."
To put the entire QBI herbal production and quality control process in perspective, Schortz described this sequence:
-- Barrels or sacks of raw herbal material, which, depending on
the herb, might include nutritional leaves, stems and roots,
arrive at QBI's 53,000 square foot New Jersey warehouse and
-- The shipment is placed in quarantine until the Quality Control
team samples and approves the material, accepting it into
inventory and scheduling it for processing.
-- Workers place the herbal material on a table and examine it to
ensure there are no foreign objects mixed in.
-- A rare-earth magnet, the most powerful type commercially
available, is used to ensure there are no metal fragments
-- The material is moved by conveyor belt into the cutter, which
reduces it to a manageable particle size.
-- Moved to the cryogenic chamber, the material is subjected to
an air-swept pulverizer; while most herbal processors use a
hammer-mill, which pounds the material against a hard surface,
QBI blows the chilled material against a steel plate, reducing
it to a powder.
-- A precisely calibrated mesh screen at the bottom of the
chamber allows correctly-sized particles to drop through a
steel tube into a plastic-lined drum.
-- A blender is used to ensure consistency of the batch.
-- The material is rechecked with rare-earth magnets, inspected
for particle size and sampled for potency as required by
customers (using QBI's high-performance liquid chromatography
-- HPLC -- lab equipment); the material is also checked for
moisture and "ash" (foreign matter) content.
-- For some products, customers require that material be treated
to reduce bacteria; the product is resampled and retested;
pre-shipment samples are retained a minimum of three years.
-- Product is shipped.
QBI processes more than 500 herbs, dried fruits and vegetables, nutraceuticals and an extensive selection of concentrated herbal extracts, as well as standardized herbal extracts of guaranteed potency, in addition to various bioflavonoids, antioxidants and beehive products. The facility is certified Kosher.
Schortz emphasized that QBI operates in accordance with voluntary food safety guidelines (called Good Manufacturing Practices) originally published by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration in 1997. "We have actively lobbied for mandatory federal production standards to ensure that vitamins, herbs and other dietary supplements taken daily by millions of American contain exactly what the label says and are free from contamination," he said. "We hold ourselves to that standard," he said, "and the public should demand nothing less of the entire industry."
QBI, which has been in business for 20 years and had sales of $14.5 million in 2002, participates in a $50.6 billion global nutraceutical industry (2001 data from Functional Ingredients & Nutraceuticals).
QBI recently merged with Health Sciences Group, Inc. (OTCBB: HESG), an integrated provider of innovative products and services to the nutraceutical, pharmaceutical and cosmeceutical industries.
About Health Sciences Group, Inc.
Health Sciences Group, Inc., is an integrated provider of innovative products and services in the nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, and cosmeceutical industries offering value-added ingredients, bioactive formulations, and proprietary technologies used in nutritional supplements, functional foods and beverages, and skin care products. Subsidiaries include XCEL Healthcare, a fully licensed, specialty compounding pharmacy focused on delivering full service pharmacology solutions to customers with chronic ailments that require long-term therapy; BioSelect Innovations, which develops and sells high-margin products based on proprietary technologies in the areas of transdermal drug delivery, cosmeceuticals, and integrative medicine to a global network of customers who manufacture and distribute compounded pharmaceuticals, functional foods, skin care products and cosmetics; and Quality Botanical Ingredients, a leading manufacturer and contract processor of bulk botanical materials and nutritional ingredients for the nutraceutical, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. For more information, visit www.HealthSciencesGroup.com.
This release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Act of 1934 that are based upon current expectations or beliefs, as well as a number of assumptions about future events. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements and the assumptions upon which they are based are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such expectations and assumptions will prove to have been correct. The reader is cautioned not to put undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, as these statements are subject to numerous factors and uncertainties, including without limitation, the independent authority of the special committee to act on the matters discussed, the successful negotiation of the potential acquisition and disposal of transactions described above, successful implementation of the company's business strategy and competition, any of which may cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the statements. In addition, other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially are discussed in the Company's most recent Form 10-QSB and Form 10-KSB filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.