Importance of QC Testing in the Herbal and Botanicals Industry.

27 July, 2017 Posted by: ICNE

A recent article in Nutraceuticals World, ‘Reviewing the state of the Herbs & Botanicals Market’, by Danielle Rose, focuses on topics such as understanding the market, new trends, challenges and quality control issues. In particular, this article looks into adulteration of raw materials and finished products in these markets and ways in which this can be controlled.

Raw materials testingThe dietary supplement industry regulations can vary from one country to the next. The lack of strict regulations could potentially lead to adulteration or mislabelling of products. As there is not one defined set of regulations to ensure harmony between different countries, self regulation is very important for quality control.

Due to competition in these markets being high, companies want to gain business by reducing the cost of their products whilst also increasing profit margins. This can sometimes lead companies to purchase the cheapest raw materials, which may be adulterated or ‘cut’ with other much cheaper materials. In many cases, the purchasers of the raw materials may not be aware that the purity of the raw materials may be compromised.

Testing is necessary to confirm to the industry and the consumer that you are, in fact, selling what you say you are’.

QC Testing The article encourages increased quality control measures with the aid of product testing. In being able to clearly state what you are selling, and by backing this up with the correct laboratory analysis, you will give consumers the confidence to trust your products and company and therefore win their business. In order to give complete and accurate information on the raw material, various types of analysis may need to be performed. It may be necessary to identify the product initially using ID tests such as Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), optical rotation, Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC) etc. This could be coupled with a purity test for the active component using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), titrations etc, whilst running the sample alongside a certified reference standard for traceability, and a placebo or blank (sample containing no analyte of interest) to prove the method has no interference from other components.

It is always good practice to have a flexible risk based approach on a testing regime for each raw material or finished product. Part of this testing regime can be to set up product specific specifications, which would include results that you should be expecting from the analysis of the raw material.

As well as being an excellent review of the herbs and botanicals market, this article strongly encourages laboratory testing in order to ensure the safety and quality of any raw material being purchased. If you require any raw material or finished product testing for your quality control procedures, then contact ICNE on 01253 737 009 or email us at

To see the full Nutraceuticals World article, click here