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Updated pesticide testing for supplements fills important gaps

Zero tolerance gap pesticide testing for supplements.jpg
A new American national standard for pesticide testing may influence global agribusiness as concerns grow over the health consequences of pesticide exposure.

NSF International and the NSF/ANSI 173 Standard Joint Committee recently updated the pesticide testing requirements in NSF/ANSI 173, the only American National Standard for dietary supplements. The impetus for the update is a recent NSF International study published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, which established chemical-specific limits for 185 pesticides that may be present in botanical ingredients used in dietary supplements.

While this is an American standard, the ramifications are global, with significant potential impact for the agribusiness market. For example, in terms of pesticide use, India had one of the top 10 fastest-growing crop protection market growth rates between 2012 and 2017. Considering the sheer magnitude of the Indian agribusiness market alone, that is a great deal of pesticides—worth over $2 billion  in 2017 alone.

The new NSF/ANSI 173 testing requirements fill an important gap. Pesticides lacking residue limits are currently held to a precautionary zero tolerance which has moved closer and closer to zero over time as analytical testing methodologies have advanced. An evidence-driven approach minimizes reliance on zero tolerance while remaining protective of public health and safety. The intent of the study was to demonstrate enough data exists on the listed pesticides to develop reasonable maximum allowable limits (MALs) on pesticides present in botanical dietary ingredients.

Read the complete version of this article in INSIDER’s Contract Labs digital magazine to learn more about how the new pesticide testing standard may impact botanical dietary supplements in the United States and the world.

Rebecca Adams, a research toxicologist at NSF International, evaluates dietary supplement and functional food product labels to the requirements of NSF/ANSI 173 and NSF certification guidelines 229 and 306, ensuring the ingredients and any potential contaminants or adulterants in the products do not present a significant public health risk or a reputational risk to consumers, athletes or the brand. She has experience in multiple disciplines including toxic tort litigation, occupational health/industrial hygiene, exposure assessment, and public health and safety.

TAGS: Supplements
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