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More Than 100 Groups Support ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program

AUSTIN, Texas, March 1, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program announces that it has reached the milestone of having more than 100 underwriters and endorsers. They include some of the biggest names in the botanical and dietary supplement community, including botanical dietary ingredient suppliers, supplement manufacturers, trade and professional associations, colleges and universities, analytical laboratories, contract research organizations, media companies, and law firms.


Three leading nonprofit organizations – the American Botanical Council (ABC), the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP), and the University of Mississippi's National Center for Natural Products Research (NCNPR) – initiated this ongoing program in 2011 to educate members of the herbal and dietary supplement industry and numerous other stakeholders in the herb, dietary supplement, and natural medicine arenas about ingredient and product authenticity and adulteration.  

"We are deeply gratified by the huge outpouring of support that we have received on this vitally needed educational program," said Mark Blumenthal , founder and executive director of ABC, and Program manager. "Wherever we have gone to solicit financial, technical, and other types of support, we have almost always received a positive response. This reflects the high level of concern that many responsible elements in the herb and natural health community – including, but not limited to, the herb and dietary supplement industry – have about the quality and reliability of herbal supplements, teas, etc. Even though it's apparent that there are many authentic, high-quality, reliable ingredients and products, the fact remains that there are identity and quality problems that have persisted far too long, and now many of us are circling the wagons to reduce and hopefully eliminate some of the errors and fraud that exist in this field."

The ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program focuses on both accidental adulteration that may occur due to inadequate quality-control procedures, as well as intentional adulteration of plant-based ingredients for financial gain. In an industry that saw sales rise 4.5% in 2011 to an estimated figure of nearly $5.3 billion (USD) in herbal dietary supplement product retail sales in the United States alone, documented cases of adulteration of raw materials, i.e., problems related to ingredient authenticity and quality, is a matter of growing concern.

Title 21 of the US Code of Federal Regulations defines adulteration as the "Addition of an impure, cheap, or unnecessary ingredient to cheat, cheapen, or falsify an ingredient or preparation." The Code also deems a product adulterated "if any substance has been added thereto or mixed or packed therewith so as to increase its bulk or weight, or reduce its quality or strength, or make it appear better or of greater value than it is."   

The primary intention of the ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program is to help protect consumers and responsible members of the herb and dietary supplement industry, as well as other manufacturers, from purchasing adulterated raw materials. This is done by the Program's publishing a series of detailed articles that serve as an authoritative source of information on botanical adulterants. These articles contain references to published official and unofficial analytical methods for company and/or third-party quality control laboratories to consider using to detect the presence (or absence) of known adulterants.  

To date, four papers on the topic of botanical adulteration have been published in ABC's quarterly scientific, peer-reviewed journal HerbalGram. The first of these, A Brief History of Adulteration of Herbs, Spices, and Botanical Drugs, written by noted botanical expert Steven Foster , appeared in the winter 2011 issue (#92). The article provides a history of accidental and intentional adulteration of botanical ingredients spanning the past two millennia.

In the spring of 2012, HerbalGram featured another article by Foster, covering the adulteration of skullcap with American germander. The herb skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora), has been used as a mild sedative for more than a century, but, in the early 1980s, it became erroneously implicated as a possible source of liver toxicity, likely due to adulteration with or substitution of American germander (Teucrium canadense).

The third feature in the series is The Adulteration of Commercial "Grapefruit Seed Extract" with Synthetic Antimicrobial and Disinfectant Compounds, written by John H. Cardellina II , PhD, and published in HerbalGram #94. A popular ingredient in natural products, grapefruit seed extract (GFSE) has appeared in cosmetics and dermatological preparations as well as dietary supplements. The article reviews 10 published analytical studies published in international journals demonstrating that samples of GFSE were adulterated with various synthetic chemicals, including the disinfectant triclosan. The article concludes that a significant amount of GFSE is adulterated, or at least was at the time the 10 analyses occurred over a 20-year period, and that GFES's promoted antimicrobial activity may be due to the presence of these synthetic antimicrobial adulterants, rather than the extract itself.

The most recent article in the series, The Adulteration of Commercial Bilberry Extracts, also written by Foster, was published in the winter 2012 issue of HerbalGram. Bilberry fruit (Vaccinium myrtillus) is a popular food in Europe where it grows wild throughout Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. It is also a best-selling supplement ingredient in the US marketplace. In a probable example of economically motived adulteration, it seems that many bilberry extracts are adulterated with a "confusing morass" of ingredients, including black soybean hull extract, amaranth dye (also known as Red Dye No. 2), charcoal, and various other fruits.

With more than 100 underwriters and endorsers of the ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program, Blumenthal says that he believes that this widespread support will continue to bring the global problem of adulteration to the attention of members of the herbal and dietary supplement community.

"We will continue to invite more companies, organizations, and others – both in the US and internationally – to join with us in this educational quest to increase knowledge about authenticity and adulteration problems," said Blumenthal. "Adulteration is an ancient and global problem. With increased education through an effective program, we believe we can significantly reduce, perhaps even eliminate, some of the problems in the market."

In addition to the series of articles, the Adulterants Program includes contributions and consultations from some of the leading independent third-party laboratories with experience in quality control and botanical identification issues. The editorial committee, which advises on all technical publications, includes expert scientists from various universities, government agencies, and third-party analytical laboratories with extensive knowledge of herbal quality control. The Program also is being supported by leading trade associations in the dietary supplement industry, including the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, the Council for Responsible Nutrition, the Natural Products Association, and the United Natural Products Alliance. 

About the ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program

The ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program is a consortium of independent nonprofit organizations whose mission relates to education, scientific research, and quality of botanical dietary ingredients and related plant-derived materials. The consortium is underwritten or endorsed by more than 100 natural product industry companies, independent analytical laboratories, contract research organizations, law firms, trade associations, and accredited institutions of education in natural medicine, all of which are involved in the production, supply, manufacture, distribution, marketing, analysis, research, and/or education of herbal dietary ingredients and supplements. Companies, organizations, foundations, and/or individuals interested in supporting this program are invited to contact Ms. Denise Meikel , ABC development director, at (512) 926-4900, ext. 120, or by email.

Underwriters and Supporters of the ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program (as of March 1, 2013)*

Financial Underwriters
AdvoCare International L.P.
Amen Clinics
Amway/Nutrilite Health Institute
Aveda Corporation
BI Nutraceuticals
Cepham, Inc.
Chemi Nutra
dicentra, Inc.
Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps
Emerson Ecologics
Enzymatic Therapy, Inc.
Ethical Naturals, Inc.
Eu Yan Sang International
Flavex Naturextrakte GmbH
Gaia Herbs
Gencor Nutrients, Inc.
GNC, Inc.
Greenberg Traurig, LLP
Helios Corp.
Herbalife International, Inc.
Herb Pharm
Horphag Research
Indena USA, Inc.
Markan Global Enterprises, Inc.
Martin Bauer , Inc.
Metabolic Maintenance Products
Metagenics, Inc.
Natural Factors Nutritional Products, Inc.
   /Bioclinic Naturals
Nature's Sunshine Products
Nature's Way
Naturex, Inc.
NBTY, Inc.
New Chapter, Inc.
The New Frontier Foundation Fund of the
    Greater Cedar Rapids Community
Ningbo Greenhealth Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.
Novel Ingredients
NOW Foods
Nu Skin Enterprises/Pharmanex
Nutritional Laboratories International
Pacific Nutritional Inc.
Paragon Laboratories
Perrigo Company
Pharmavite, LLC
Pure Encapsulations
Rainbow Light Nutritional Systems
RFI Ingredients, LLC
Sabinsa Corporation
Schwabe North America
Standard Process, Inc.
Thorne Research, Inc.
Traditional Medicinals, Inc.
Triarco Industries, Inc.
Valensa International
V.D.F. FutureCeuticals
Verdure Sciences
Vitamin Shoppe
Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Whole Foods Market

Trade Associations
Consumer Healthcare Products Association
Council for Responsible Nutrition
Natural Products Association
United Natural Products Alliance

Nonprofit/Professional Associations
American Association of Naturopathic Physicians
Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Bastyr University
National College of Natural Medicine
Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine
University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine

Third-Party Analytical Laboratories
Alkemists Laboratories
Bent Creek Institute
British Columbia Institute of Technology
Covance Laboratories
Flora Research Labs
NSF International
Spectrix Labs
Tampa Bay Analytical

Natural Foods Merchandiser
Natural Products INSIDER
Nutraceuticals World
Nutritional Outlook
Nutrition Business Journal
Nutrition Industry Executive
Vitamin Retailer
Whole Foods Magazine

Law Firms
Amin Talati , LLC
Greenberg Traurig, LLP ( James Prochnow )
Law Office of Holly Bayne , P.C.

Contract Research Organizations
KGK Synergize
Medicus Research

*By acknowledging the generous support of these companies and organizations, ABC, AHP, and NCNPR are not endorsing any ingredients or products that may be produced or marketed by them.

About the American Botanical Council
Founded in 1988, the American Botanical Council is a leading international nonprofit organization addressing research and educational issues regarding herbs, teas, medicinal plants, essential oils, and other beneficial plant-derived materials. ABC's members include academic researchers and educators; libraries; health professionals and medical institutions; government agencies; members of the herb, dietary supplement, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical industries; journalists; consumers; and others in more than 81 countries. The organization occupies a historic 2.5-acre site in Austin, Texas, where it publishes the peer-reviewed quarterly journal HerbalGram, the monthly e-publication HerbalEGram, the weekly e-newsletter Herbal News & Events, HerbClips (summaries of scientific and clinical publications), reference books, and other educational materials. ABC also hosts HerbMedPro, a powerful herbal database, covering scientific and clinical publications on more than 250 herbs. ABC also co-produces the "Herbal Insights" segment for Healing Quest, a television series on PBS.

ABC is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code. Information: Contact ABC at P.O. Box 144345, Austin, TX 78714-4345, Phone: 512-926-4900. Website: Contact: Public Relations.

About the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP)
AHP is a 501(c)(3) California-based nonprofit research organization. AHP's primary goal is to develop standards of identity, purity, quality, and testing for botanical ingredients and to provide industry with the resources needed to assure the authenticity and quality of botanical raw materials. Additionally, with most all monographs, AHP develops a Therapeutic Compendium that provides a critical review of the authoritative traditional and scientific data on herbal medicines to ensure a high level of accuracy, clinical applicability, and safety of herbal ingredients. AHP also provides industry with authenticated AHP-Verified Botanical Reference Materials for GMP compliance with identity requirements.

About the National Center for Natural Products Research (NCNPR)

The National Center for Natural Products Research (NCNPR) at the School of Pharmacy, University of Mississippi, is a unique university-affiliated research center devoted to the study of natural products and the realization of their benefits in human health, agriculture, and other applications. The NCNPR is recognized as a Center of Excellence for botanical supplements by the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

SOURCE American Botanical Council
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