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American Botanical Council Publishes a History of Adulteration
Date:11/30/2011

contemporary incidents of adulteration.

"We commissioned Steven Foster to write this article as we believe it is important to frame the issue of accidental and intentional adulteration of botanical ingredients in the historical perspective," said ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal. "It is essential for people to realize that adulteration is an ancient and ongoing practice: unfortunately, people have been cheating in commerce since the beginning of civilization!"

"I have found the topic of adulteration fascinating ever since I first encountered catnip stem-chaff left over from catnip seed harvest masquerading as catnip herb over 30 years ago," said Foster. "Proper verification and authentication of botanicals and plant parts entering commercial trade is of increasing importance to discerning consumers demanding high-quality herbal products to deliver expected benefits. Quality is not a marketing slogan; it is a consumer right. A spectrum of sophisticated technology exists to thwart adulteration problems. However, history teaches us that there is no technological substitute for knowledgeable and experienced human perception. It is the foundation from which technology becomes useful."

The article contains historic illustrations and Foster's own plant photography. It was peer reviewed by five experts in the history of pharmacy and medicine and additional expert reviewers. The article is the first in a series of articles and white papers on adulteration of botanical materials used in foods, spices and food flavorings, dietary ingredients, drugs, and cosmetics as part of the ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program, a recently-announced consortium of nonprofit organizations and independent analytical laboratories headed by the American Botanical Council, the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, and the N
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SOURCE American Botanical Council
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