With new qualified health claim, quality testing tools for cranberry are crucial, says Fruit d’Or


Following FDA's ruling to allow supplements containing whole fruit cranberry to carry a qualified health claim, Fruit d’Or wants its customers to know the importance of reliable tools and standards to deliver consistent quality and efficacy to consumers.


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Following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) ruling to allow supplements containing a daily serving of 500 mg of whole fruit cranberry to carry a qualified health claim, Fruit d’Or wants its customers to know the importance of reliable tools and standards to deliver consistent quality and efficacy to consumers.

“As the industry leader, Fruit d’Or feels a responsibility to do everything possible to implement the highest standards for cranberry quality and authenticity. We have been funding work to debunk the junk in the cranberry marketplace since 2012,” says Fruit d’Or business manager and lead consultant Stephen Lukawski, in a press release. “Quality, traceability and transparency begin in the field. You must know the composition of your raw material before you go to market. The next step is using the most advanced tools for verifying authenticity. Then we must confirm that the authenticated cranberry is standardized so that what’s inside is consistent.”

Unfortunately, adulteration remains a problem. A recent study published in CellPress1, for example, analyzed 17 cranberry extracts and 10 cranberry-based food supplements across 7 countries and found that 24% and 60% of extracts and food supplements, respectively, differed significantly from the fruit. The results also suggested that a number of the products were adulterated with either Morus nigra or Hibiscus extract. Another common adulterant is peanut skin.

“Companies need to know that Fruit d’Or is helping them to grow their businesses by fighting against contaminants such as peanut skins, known allergens that are commonly used to sway PAC testing results,” says Jean Leclerc, director of sales and business development for Fruit d’Or, in a press release. Tools, such as Complete Phytochemical Solutions’ MALDI-TOF MS method is highly accurate and reliable.

“Most tests can’t differentiate such adulterants as peanut skins from cranberry. That can not only mislead product manufacturers, it also makes research impossible,” explains Leclerc. “Fruit d’Or helped fund the development of Complete Phytochemical Solutions’ MALDI-TOF MS method of authentication because it is simply a far more accurate tool. A study published in the Journal of AOAC International2 determined that the MALDI-TOF MS can identify, differentiate and quantify cranberry PACs from other botanicals such as grape seed with a confidence of 95%.”

The method’s ability to provide a fingerprint analysis of the starting material is important because cranberry can vary from lot to lot due to being affecting by every phase of the growing and manufacturing process, including drying and milling. The addition of TRU ID DNA barcoding can complement MALDI-TOF MS, and is used as such by Fruit d’Or for even higher standards of authenticity. According to Fruit d’Or, the firm was the industry’s first cranberry supplier to join the TRU ID testing program and become a TRU ID Certified Partner. Fruit d’Or’s ingredients also undergo analysis of biomarkers for standardization, and anti-adhesion testing to establish efficacy.

“Fruit d’Or’s goal is to protect the consumer by producing efficacious, science-based cranberry ingredients,” says Leclerc. “We need all industry stakeholders to accept and adopt these same test methods to prevent adulteration, and create authenticity and standardization. Now that we have the tools, continuing without that acceptance could have a negative effect on the future growth of the cranberry industry.”


  1. Gardana C et al. “Identification of markers for the authentication of cranberry extract and cranberry-based food supplements.” CellPress, vol. 6, no. 4 (2020)
  2. Equivel-Alvarado D et al. “Identification of A-Type proanthocyanidins in cranberry-based foods and dietary supplements by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry, first action method: 2019.05.” Journal of AOAC International, Published online ahead of print on August 10, 2020
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