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Step one: Identity Testing. How do we do this?
Each ingredient is identified using infrared spectroscopy. An exact "match" is required between the tested material and the specifications listed in our database. Our specifications provide a consistent standard each time, therefore guaranteeing your product contains exactly what is stated on the label. FT-IR also looks for "other" ingredients and excipients which may be present. If the test shows positive, the material is rejected.
Despite all the advances in analytical technology, the human senses are still superior in determining the quality of a product (just like in the wine and cheese industry). A trained technician scrutinizes color, flavor, texture, aroma and particle size to verify only the good stuff continues into production.
This test uses your eyes, a hand-held magnifying glass and microscope. This process gives us a really close look at the plant parts, botanical identity (phytomorphology), condition and presence of foreign matter like soil, insect parts, etc.
We use just our 20/20 vision. This method of plant material identification uses traits that are visible to the naked eye. No magnification here.
Step two: Check for contaminants and verify that all levels are well below our specification limits.
We test for E.coli, Salmonella, total aerobic bacteria, yeast and mold, threatening food borne bacteria and coliforms. It's a "zero-find" policy. This means we allow little-to-no bacterial colonies in our ingredients and keep our limits far below industry standards.
By using a digital moisture analyzer, we ensure there isn't too much moisture (water) in our dried herbs. Excessive moisture makes the plant material susceptible to mold, fungus and bacterial growth - which can create unhealthy toxins.
Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy
Heavy metals. Yes, we test for lead, cadmium and arsenic. Only raw materials with acceptable levels will become herbal supplements.
Did you know more than 80% of a human’s daily intake of lead, cadmium and zinc comes from food (mainly fruits and vegetables), dirt and dust in the air? Lead is naturally present in all soil. And, as a consequence of nature, a plant’s uptake of lead may occur throughout the entire growing process. Our acceptable metals limits are much lower than the American Herbal Product Association (AHPA) recommended limits, and we like to keep them that way.
Various additional tests
We're so crazy about tests, we throw in a few extras, too, like water activity, foreign matter, ash, aflatoxin and pesticides.
Step three: Potency.
Instead of merely isolating specific compounds, we place more value on the synergistic activity of the whole plant. There's even research showing that whole herbs contain a multitude of supporting constituents which work together to increase the activity of that single isolated compound.
How do we test for this in our lab? High-Performance Liquid Chromatography. Or, HPLC for short.
HPLC helps us determine ways to maximize our growing and harvesting practices, helping us achieve the highest levels of all active constituents. Using this test has also proven that by processing fresh herbs immediately, the naturally occurring compounds are often more potent than those previously found only in standardized herbal extracts.
No binders, fillers or flowing agents to make our products run faster. We're excipient and stearate-free.
In order for our "slow process manufacturing" to work, we need to verify that the plant material has the right characteristics to run easily on our machines without clumping or sticking. We perform a Density Test to make sure the raw material will fill our capsules to the recommended dose and weight, as specified on our label. And, we do a Mesh Size Test. This uses screens or weigh scales to guarantee the "cut" of the material is just right for use in our capsules or bulk bags.
We participate in Dietary Supplement Laboratory Quality Assurance Program (DSQAP) exercises. By comparing our results with those of our greater dietary supplement community's true results, we can continually look for optimal ways to improve the way we test for identity, purity, and potency. More about DSQAP.
OMIC - 3rd Party Testing
As a certified organic grower and manufacturer since 1994, we’ve always been confident in the integrity of our practices and testing from seed to bottle – no GMOs, ever! We guarantee that statement through both our in-house AND third-party testing. All our organic herbal powders and capsules are confirmed non-GMO by OMIC USA, Inc., an independent, ISO certified analytical laboratory. We’re happy to offer our customers and consumers this additional level of testing and verification of purity.