Fort Wayne, IN—Berryceuticals specialist Artemis International, Inc., announced that the company is strengthening its partnership with American Botanical Council’s Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program (BAPP) and botanical testing specialists Alkemist Labs in investigating suspicions of adulterated elderberry ingredients entering the U.S. market as raw ingredients and in finished products.
“It was just a matter of time,” Leslie Gallo, President of Artemis International, said in the announcement. “With global population of >7 billion people, most of whom are looking for something they can take to help their immune system during COVID-19, the bad actors in the ingredient business, and some dishonest brands marketing elderberry products, were going to try to capitalize on the heightened awareness of elderberry.”
Gallo pointed to the “explosion” of interest in elderberry that came with the COVID-19 pandemic, citing emails from overseas companies touting elderberry at “prices too good to be pure elderberry” especially when one considers the factors that drive up prices, such as costs of transporting elderberry from Europe to China, extraction costs, and shipping to U.S.
Preliminary testing by Artemis on some of the extracts revealed non-elderberry compounds, according to the press release, with adulteration ingredients including black rice. Additionally, other extracts were not the reported level of active anthocyanins based on the USP method, Artemis said. Now, Alkemist Labs is conducting a full suite of fit for purpose testing on ingredients from several suppliers.
Artemis cautioned companies purchasing elderberry extracts to do their due diligence, noting that GMP requires full ID/authentication of ingredients, and not to rely on vendor-supplied reports. “It is disheartening that at a time when it is most important for people to be able to confidently purchase their elderberry products, they need to be concerned that they are purchasing elderberry,” said Gallo. “Brands need to take extra precautions when purchasing elderberry ingredients and send to respected third-party labs for validation.”
Another caution: “Alkemist Labs has already reported on fraudulent CoA’s using its logo,” adds Gallo. “Ingredients should be tested at reputable labs. Period. And if given a lab report from the vendor, call the lab named on the Certificate of Analysis to confirm the report has not been altered and reflects actual testing done.”
Artemis, which supplies ElderCraft elderberry extracts, added that elderberry is experiencing “exponential increase in demand this year,” and that the company is committed to meeting demand while dealing with the challenges of product shortfalls.