Artemis International doubles down on exposing adulteration of elderberry extracts

July 6, 2020

Artemis International is strengthening its partnership with the American Botanical Council’s Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program and botanical testing specialist Alkemist Labs to investigate suspicions that adulterated elderberry ingredients are infiltrating the U.S. market.

Artemis International (Fort Wayne, IN) is strengthening its partnership with the American Botanical Council’s (ABC; Austin, TX) Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program and botanical testing specialist Alkemist Labs (Garden Grove, CA) to investigate suspicions that adulterated elderberry ingredients are infiltrating the U.S. market as both raw ingredients and in finished products. The global COVID-19 pandemic has created profound interest in immune health ingredients, notably elderberry, and when the demand began to grow, emails began to circulate from companies of mostly Chinese origin, touting elderberry extracts at prices that were too good to be true, explained Leslie Gallo, president of Artemis, in a press release.

“With global population of >7 billion people, most of whom are looking for something they can take to help their immune system during COVID-19, the bad actors in the ingredient business, and some dishonest brands marketing elderberry products, were going to try to capitalize on the heightened awareness of elderberry,” said Gallo. Preliminary testing on some of these questionable extracts revealed non-elderberry compounds. Chromatograms showed that one of the ingredients used to adulterate the extracts was black rice. Other extracts did not have the reported levels of active anthocyanins, based on USP methods.

“It is disheartening that at a time when it is most important for people to be able to confidently purchase their elderberry products, they need to be concerned that they are purchasing elderberry,” stated Gallo, in a press release. “Brands need to take extra precautions when purchasing elderberry ingredients and send to respected third-party labs for validation. We have been notified of finished products that are questionable. Brands: check the products that have your name on them. Hint: the contents of an elderberry capsule should NEVER be beige/white.”

Alkemist Labs has already reported that companies have been using fraudulent Certificates of Analysis that use its logo. Therefore, Gallo recommends that ingredients only be tested by reputable labs and that CoAs should always be authenticated by the lab to confirm the report has not been altered and reflects actual testing.