Alkemist Labs warns industry of falsified certificates of analysis being circulated

May 18, 2020

Certain ingredient suppliers and marketing companies have been doctoring lab reports and using the falsified reports to promote products.

Certain ingredient suppliers and marketing companies have been doctoring lab reports and using the falsified reports to promote products, says Alkemist Labs (Garden Grove, CA). The lab reports were altered in several ways, including changing or removing the client name, replacing the lot number, or even going so far as changing the results of the analysis. This practice is reminiscent of those uncovered by journalists in 2012, says Elan Sudberg, CEO of Alkemist Labs.

“Dateline NBC did an undercover investigation in 2012 that revealed a practice by some in the dietary supplement industry that involved issuing a Certificate of Analysis with whatever test results the client wanted, but not testing a product at all, a practice called ‘Dry Labbing,’” he explains in a press release. “We’re calling this new problem ‘Dry Reporting’ and it has the potential to create as many terrible headlines for the industry as the dry labbing scandal did. The industry needs to be on high alert.”

The first incident of dry reporting was identified on May 6 when several industry contacts brought to Alkemist Labs’ attention that they received emails offering elderberry botanical extracts for sale with a linked lab report claiming to show identity of Sambucus nigra (elderberry). The lab report attached to these emails were significantly altered from the original version. In addition, the offending company clipped images from the report and pasted them onto marketing materials without attribution.

“We see this sort of thing from time to time, but lately it’s more common. With the supply chain strained, some companies are buying from people they have not vetted, and should proceed with extreme caution,” said Sudberg. “It’s essential that whenever material changes hands, it’s tested. Don’t skip this step, especially now. And if you get a C of A that says it’s from us, email it to us and if it is authentic, we will verify that. We hope other testing labs in our industry will follow suit.”

Another lab called DNA4 Technologies has also had a report doctored. “We’ve demanded that the offending company send a letter to all the original e-blast recipients that correctly identifies that DNA4 did not test the extract powder described in the advertisement, as well as to modify the ad that is posted on their website and include a notation that a previous version of the ad incorrectly linked our report testing raw materials, to the advertisement for a powdered extract,” said David Erickson, PhD, CEO and co-founder of DNA4, in a press release.

For those who receive a lab report conducted by Alkemist Labs, but are concerned about being the victim of dry reporting, the firm established guidelines in 2016 to help manufacturers identify legitimate lab reports conducted by Alkemist Labs. Still in force, these guidelines include the following:

• All Certificates of Analysis issued by Alkemist Labs will contain the following: “Copyright © Alkemists Pharmaceuticals 2020. All rights reserved.”
• Clients may request to use lab reports issued by Alkemist Labs in their marketing materials, but must obtain written permission from the company to help weed out misused reports.
• NO changes or redactions of any kind are permitted, nor may the Alkemist Lab name and/or logo be removed or blurred.