ABC’s HerbalGram Talks Adulteration of Grapefruit Seed Extract

June 25, 2012

The article reviewed 10 published studies that looked at “various synthetic disinfectant chemicals” found in grapefruit seed extract products since 1991.

Many ingredients, dietary supplements, and cosmetics containing grapefruit seed extract may be adulterated, according an article published in the summer issue of the American Botanical Council’s (ABC; Austin, TX) quarterly, peer-reviewed journal, HerbalGram. As ABC’s article describes, grapefruit seed extract is often used as an ingredient in or as a preservative for cosmetics, as well as dietary supplements.

“As noted in the HerbalGram article, contemporary research shows that ‘a significant amount, and possibly a majority, of ingredients, dietary supplements, and/or cosmetics labeled as or containing grapefruit seed extract are adulterated, and any observed antimicrobial activity is due to synthetic additives, not the grapefruit seed extract itself,’” ABC stated in a member advisory.

Article author John Cardellina, PhD, also noted that the microbicides present in grapefruit seed extract products over time have changed, suggesting that manufacturers may be trying to “stay one step ahead of analytical methods to detect adulteration.”

“We do not know whether all products claiming to contain ‘grapefruit seed extract’ are adulterated,” stated ABC’s founder and executive director Mark Blumenthal. “But, as our article shows, there is ample evidence in the scientific literature to raise serious concerns about the probable adulteration of such products.” He added that FDA should take action to investigate adulteration of grapefruit seed extract products.

The article reviewed 10 published studies that looked at “various synthetic disinfectant chemicals” found in grapefruit seed extract products since 1991, including benzalkonium chloride, benzenthonium chloride, triclosan, and methyl p-hydroxybenzoate.