Sure, there will always be recalls and adverse event reporting due to tainted foods and supplements. However, I believe that the goal is to dramatically reduce ---if not try to eliminate--such occurrences.
It can be a scary world we live in, bagged salads can assault unsuspecting consumers with the ravages caused by E. coli, and some botanical supplements have been recalled in the past. Whenever producers and marketers are working with materials of natural origin, pathogenic bacteria can slip in undetected unless, of course, we have systems in place at the point of origin to help prevent that.
But that is just one aspect of a recall or AER. Misidentified or poor-quality starting material can be highly problematic as well.
During my long tenure in this industry, my goals are consumer satisfaction and, of course, safety. These engender trust; trust engenders brand loyalty.
At Fruit d'Or Nutraceuticals, we have just added to key testing methodologies to authenticate the identity and quality of the raw material organic and non-organic cranberries that come in from our grower-partners.
The first test is DNA barcoding, performed to prove that the starting material is indeed cranberry. I believe fully that DNA barcoding should be required for all materials of natural origin, so that the processing of authenticated material may move forward accordingly. Performing DNA barcoding of fresh, raw material is absolutely imperative because as the material moves through drying, milling, etc., these processes naturally interfere with the DNA structure.
And, because DNA barcoding is limited only for authentication, we have worked closely with Christian Krueger, CEO of Complete Phytochemical Solutions, LLC, to incorporate MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry for purposes of authenticating A-type proanthocyanidins in both our raw ingredients and finished products. Collectively, these sophisticated analytics will support efficacy through standardization and prevention of adulteration from the beginning to the end of the process.
Authentication is only part of the equation. Efficacy and standardization also need to be assured. Look at it this way: what good is preventing adulteration when we don't have efficacious products on the shelf? Consumers expect the health products they purchase to work, and achieve a desired result. That is why transparency on the label is so important for the consumers to identify efficacious and safe products.
The dietary supplement space continues to showcase botanical raw materials from all corners of the globe. Just about every form of retailer is slowly giving more shelf space to supplements. This means that both the healthy-mindset mainstream and the long-term supplement/healthy lifestyle devotees have much more to choose from, at any point in their daily activity. This will only increase, and therefore I believe that raw materials suppliers owe it to the public--as well as to their brand marketer partners and retailers--to invest in the proper testing technologies.