American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) President Michael McGuffin outlined how the herbal supplement industry continues to develop solutions to address adulteration at an Expert Roundtable on Botanicals held by the International Alliance of Dietary/Food Supplement Associations (IADSA) on Monday.
McGuffin explained that adulteration is a long-time issue that impacts many product classes, including drugs and food. He provided an overview of recent efforts by the supplement industry and the federal government to deter adulteration and ensure high-quality products.
"Adulteration of valuable botanical ingredients with cheaper material has existed as long as plants have been traded or sold, but evolving technology and continued collaboration between the industry and governments are creating new solutions and safeguards to detect and prevent adulteration," McGuffin said.
AHPA offers several resources to help the industry verify the identity of botanical ingredients and detect adulteration, including AHPA's free Botanical Identity References Compendium and list of common ingredient adulteration that is generally well-known to responsible manufacturers.
AHPA's Botanical Identity References Compendium includes is an online resource that includes nominclature, voucher specimens, physical characteristics and test methods for 190 species. This searchable compendium is designed to help qualified and experienced analysts determine the identity of plant species and articles of trade obtained from these plants.
Analytical laboratories and organizations like AOAC International are also contributing to efforts to eliminate adulteration by continuing to develop and validate effective and efficient methods to verify the identity of botanical ingredients and detect adulterants.
McGuffin also reviewed federal efforts to address adulteration, including current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) regulations for dietary supplements that require companies to perform "at least one test or examination" to verify identity of every ingredient and requires specifications to limit "those types of contamination that may adulterate" a finished product.
Another international adulteration issue is drug-spiked products that are unlawfully masquerading as dietary supplements. Governments and the industry have been increasing efforts to deter this illegal activity.
AHPA maintains KeepSupplementsClean.org to alert consumers and the industry about illegal drug-spiked products. In addition, the U.S. Department of Justice continues to prosecute individuals who market adulterated drug products. One individual was recently sentenced to nine years in prison for misbranding and selling drugs as "all-natural herbal supplements."
"The responsible herbal products industry, encourages the federal government to fully enforce current laws and regulations to protect consumers from criminals selling adulterated drugs," McGuffin said.
Download slides from McGuffin's presentation >>