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Jennifer Grebow is editor-in-chief of Nutritional Outlook.
The company announced a prestigious botanical reference-materials partnership with the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia.
Contract testing laboratory Alkemist Labs (Costa Mesa, CA) has forged a prestigious distribution agreement that will expand the company’s library of reference materials it offers online to clients for botanical ingredient identity testing. The company announced it is now a distributor of the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia’s (AHP) AHP-Verified Botanical Reference Materials library.
AHP’s library includes more than 300 botanical reference materials that companies can use to confirm the authenticity of their own botanical samples. The AHP library is a highly esteemed resource used not only by the private sector but also by academic and regulatory institutions to test botanical identity.
In addition to now offering AHP reference materials, Alkemist will also continue to offer its other reference tools, including its own Composite Reference Botanicals (CRB) materials, which the company describes as “a composite of two or more separately sourced botanical reference materials.” “Each component is internally qualified and then combined to create a better representative sampling of the botanical versus any single reference botanical available on the market,” the company says on its website. Earlier this year, Alkemist Labs also began distributing reference standards produced by botanical-standards firm Extrasynthese (Lyon, France) that Alkemist says are “high-purity, single-component phytochemical standards.”
Elan Sudberg, CEO of Alkemist Labs, discusses how the new AHP offerings complement Alkemist’s existing libraries. “The Alkemist Composite Reference Botanical (CRBs) and AHP Botanical Reference Materials are botanical biomass that have been tested and authenticated as the particular plant of interest,” he says. “The Alkemist and AHP botanical product lines overlap slightly, but when taken together contain over 450 botanical reference materials. The addition of the AHP products to our existing Alkemist and Extrasynthese catalogs provides a complementary and complete offering to the quality-testing requirements of our industry.”
“The breadth of our herbarium collections together provides a broad array of most all of the botanicals that companies and labs need to assure their materials conform with independent identification specifications,” added Roy Upton, founder and executive director of AHP, in a press release.
Sudberg also welcomes the credibility the AHP standards bring. “The American Herbal Pharmacopoeia and Roy Upton are very well known in the botanical community as respected experts in the field of botanical identification,” Sudberg says. “The size and scope of this distribution agreement is unique.”
Committed to Educating Industry
The latest AHP partnership is just part of Alkemist Labs’ ongoing commitment to educating the dietary supplement community about proper botanical testing-a focus that is evermore important as the supplements community, and especially the herbal ingredients space, comes under stronger regulatory scrutiny, such as in the recent market probes conducted by New York Attorney General (NY AG) Eric Schneiderman.
Earlier this year, Alkemist launched an educational program to instruct industry members on how to properly conduct product testing. It includes an ongoing column in Alkemist's monthly “Lab Notes” newsletter in which Sidney Sudberg, PhD, the company’s founder and chief science officer, clarifies some of the more confusing aspects of product testing, including how to handle a failed sample. In addition, the company has created a series of informative videos detailing how testing labs impact GMP compliance and tips on botanical testing and choosing a testing lab.
“We’re seeing a lot of companies that have not had robust testing programs begin to raise the bar on quality by instituting more comprehensive testing in response to the changing landscape,” said Elan Sudberg in a May press release. “It’s a very good thing to increase quality assurance, but we’ve seen many companies that are at the beginning of the learning curve who could benefit from the education we are providing.”
Upton praised Alkemist’s efforts to improve botanical understanding. “Like AHP, Alkemist’s commitment goes far beyond business, but rather is a commitment to cultivate a high level of integrity in the botanical product sector overall,” he said.
“The current climate of increased consumer scrutiny, regulatory pressures, and not to mention the NY AG actions, makes accurate botanical identification a critical issue for the industry,” Elan tells Nutritional Outlook. “The collaboration between Alkemist and AHP will help provide an unprecedented step to accommodate the ever-increasing requirements for the dietary supplement industry.”
Nutritional Outlook magazine