Recent study highlights new analytical strategies for improving turmeric quality

A recent study funded by the Global Curcumin Association evaluated the effectiveness of a new analytical strategy to determine whether a curcumin product has been labeled accurately and has not been adulterated with synthetic ingredients.

A recent study funded by the Global Curcumin Association (GCA; Spring, TX), and co-authored by analytical experts Beta Analytic and Eurofins, evaluated the effectiveness of a new analytical strategy to determine whether a curcumin product has been labeled accurately and has not been adulterated with synthetic ingredients. In the study, researchers tested 14 products with an “all-natural” label claim using both carbon-14 and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) testing, using a high percentage of curcumin-to-curcuminoids value as an indicator of the presence of synthetic curcumin.

The two methods complement each other because HPLC alone does not provide direct evidence of the curcuminoids’ natural origins, and carbon-14 testing alone cannot test for potency label claims nor determine which constituents contain 14C radiocarbon. Using these two complementary methods the researchers found that only four of the 14 samples analysed supported authentic label claims.

“Our recent GCA testing, confirmed by others, has determined that some products on the market are adulterated or lack adequate levels of active ingredients. Turmeric is an ingredient with ample scientific evidence for health benefits, but if we lose consumer faith and trust, it will impact all companies in this market – bad actors as well as fully compliant organizations,” said GCA executive director Len Monheit, in a press release. “For this reason, we are emphatic that better tools are needed for both brands and contract manufacturers, and while our initial findings changed sourcing practices and supply chain partners, more change and quality control is needed.”

“This work has been in process for many months and was written with input from the American Botanical Council (ABC) and the ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program (BAPP), both of which GCA actively supports,” adds Monheit. “Our goal is to steward growth and strengthen the category by communicating quality control strategies.”

Reference

  1. You H et al. “Analytical strategies to determine the labelling accuracy and economically-motivated adulteration of “natural” dietary supplements in the marketplace: Turmeric case study.” Food Chemistry, Published online ahead of print on August 29, 2021