Supplement Testing and Ingredient Quality
The UnLab: How to Do Food Testing, Supplement Testing and Ingredient Quality
Contract testing labs serve a much-needed purpose, and many testing laboratories are at the leading edge of analytical science. While the “high-throughput lab” business model helps keeps costs and turnaround time low, the sacrifice becomes accurate and precise results using a suitable method.
As an “UnLab’, NaturPro Scientific is driven to achieve the right answers. Because we don’t process hundreds of samples a day, or own expensive equipment, we are able to work on behalf of our clients to ensure that correct methods are used and results are obtained.
NaturPro has a giant toolshed, not just a hammer. So we don’t see everything as a nail.
We know how to determine if dry-labbing is occurring, and we can determine if a lab is a good partnership choice. We know that some are experienced with ginseng, but not with ginkgo. We know the right questions to ask, and instructions to give, to ensure testing gives the right answers.
Ultimately, our “ounce of prevention” approach leads to faster turnaround, lower testing costs, reduced ingredient rejections and production delays, and reduced time spent investigating out-of-spec results.
For more information on our UnLab and supplement ingredient testing programs, please contact us.
Experts in Testing
The FDA cGMPs (current Good Manufacturing Practices) state the requirements for testing of supplements: analytical methods must measure the quality attributes of a product as per its specification, and be scientifically valid, -- which means that they are suitable for their intended purpose. It wouldn't be correc to measure the length of a mile using a single yardstick or a clock, but in some cases invalid methods are still sometimes used to measure the quality attributes of dietary supplements and their ingredients.
All ingredients must be put through at least one valid test to verify their identity, according to GMP. However, 100% identity testing can be confusing. For example, organoleptic and microscopic analysis may be suitable for some ingredients (such as oregano leaves) but not for others (powdered extract). Thin-layer chromatography, infrared spectroscopy, and HPLC all have weaknesses for ID testing as well. A good ID testing plan should take into account possible adulterants. In sum, there is no one-size fits all ID method.
NaturPro recently co-founded IDDI, one of the first services offering independent verification of identity testing and methods.
All products must also undergo valid testing for chemical and biological contaminants that can cause harm, such as pathogenic micro-organisms like E. coli. Making sure the lab does not cut corners is a critical part of ensuring product safety and compliance. All supplement firms - even non-manufacturers - are responsible for verifying that ingredients and products meet the specification using scientifically valid methods. In some cases, what appears to be a solid specification may fall apart when looking under the hood. Let us take a look at your specifications to address any problem areas or ways to improve.