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 ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program

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About: Three leading nonprofit organizations—the American Botanical Council (ABC), the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP), and the University of Mississippi's National Center for Natural Products Research (NCNPR)—have initiated a large-scale program to educate members of the herbal and dietary supplement industry about ingredient and product adulteration.

Responsible parties in the herbal and dietary supplement community have become increasingly concerned about the suspected and confirmed practice of adulteration of numerous ingredients. The existence of adulteration raises questions about the identity and quality of some popular herbal ingredients sold in dietary supplements in the United States and in other botanical products (e.g., medicines, cosmetics, etc.) in global markets.

Adulteration of botanical ingredients can be accidental or deliberate. The ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program will focus on both accidental adulteration that occurs as a result of poor quality-control procedures, as well as the intentional adulteration of plant-based products for financial gain. This industry-funded program aspires to serve as a self-regulatory mechanism for industry to address adulteration problems through education rather than federal regulation.

The ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program is a long-term, multi-party coalition of herb quality and identity experts in university research groups, third-party analytical laboratories, government agencies, trade associations, and industry companies to examine the extent of suspected adulteration of herbal materials, particularly adulteration that is economically motived. The intention is to confirm the extent of adulteration in the United States and global markets, determine which official or unofficial analytical methods are currently available to help detect the presence (or absence) of a suspected or known adulterant, and to provide comment and guidance on the relative strengths and/or weaknesses of differing analytical methods. The results of this investigation will be published in a series of reports (white papers) and will be made available on the ABC website.