Devin Bennett, CEO of INS Farms, the leading grower and supplier of North American elderberry ingredients, has announced the company’s commitment to continued authenticity of its elderberry, as demand continues unabated.
According to the Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program, including American Botanical Council (ABC), the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP), and the National Center for Natural Products Research (NCNPR) at the University of Mississippi, which recently tested elderberry raw materials and finished products, there is a high amount of adulteration.
“BAPP received HPLC-Vis chromatograms representing anthocyanin fingerprints from 25 bulk dry extracts and eight finished dietary supplements labeled to contain elder (Sambucus nigra) berry extract. Five of the bulk extracts and two finished products were found to be devoid of any elder berry,” reported Stefan Gafner, PhD, chief science officer of the American Botanical Council.
He noted that this adulteration is likely the result of economically motivated to take advantage of global fear of immune failure during the pandemic. Some adulterants have included black rice, and blueberries, among others. There is also a rise of an unethical practice where suppliers send authentic ingredients to contract analytical laboratories to receive legitimate CoAs then use those for inferior, adulterated elderberry ingredients.
“Quality of product is based on authenticating identity of the raw material from the field through delivery to the customer,” explained Bennett. “Among the tests we perform are polyphenol fingerprinting for identification , DNA barcoding by Tru-ID for authenticity all to ensure there are no diluents, cross contamination or the presence of any other molecular compound other than what it should be: elderberry.”
Bennett added that currently, demand is exceeding supply throughout the globe, but INS Farms has grower sources worldwide and is thus able to fulfill demand. Besides growing its North American elderberry, which undergoes the battery of tests, so too are the actual berries and concentrate it receives from European sources.
“Then reinvesting in ABC elderberry adulteration program is necessary to set higher quality standards for elderberry suppliers and to protect elderberry growers,” Bennett asserted. “We address authenticity right from the field starting with the whole berry,” he said. “We purchase fresh berries, make our own concentrates and powders, and then ship directly to customers, along with the guarantee that the product is authenticated as elderberry with a guaranteed potency of total polyphenols asserted Bennett.” We are trying to debunk the junk of inferior elderberry ingredients by educating buyers of the importance to work with elderberry suppliers who offer complete transparency and traceability from field to finish.”
He advised that low prices of elderberry raw material signify inferior quality. “To help fight against adulteration any nutraceutical manufacturer that is suspicious and concerned of the quality of elderberry that they are looking to purchase should first have the elderberry tested by TRU ID for authenticity and also send the elderberry to a third party lab such as Complete Phyto Chemical Solutions and Alkemist for analysis of total polyphenols and anthocyanins.”