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Archive December 2023

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AHPA Chief Science Officer moderates panel on product integrity at GRMA Summit

Holly E. Johnson, Ph.D., was joined by AHPA members for a panel discussion on developing and validating scientifically valid methods for product integrity

December 22, 2023

From left: Jason Stine (ANSI National Accreditation Board), Mohamed Koroma (Pharmavite), Cris Amarillas (Eurofins), Constance Bahr (AOAC International), Elan Sudberg (Alkemist Labs), and Holly E. Johnson (AHPA)


As part of the American Herbal Products Association’s (AHPA’s) work to advance standards development for the dietary supplement and natural product industries, AHPA Chief Science Officer Holly E. Johnson, Ph.D., presented at the Global Retailer and Manufacturer Alliance (GRMA) Summit, December 5-8, 2023, in Boca Raton, FL. The annual event brings together industry leaders and subject matter experts to collaborate and share knowledge around best practices, cutting edge tools, and the latest news within quality and regulatory compliance.
 

Dr. Haijing Hu (FDA ODSP)

At the summit, Dr. Johnson moderated a panel titled, “Product Integrity – Addressing Method Suitability Details,” featuring AHPA members Elan Sudberg (Alkemist Labs), Cris Amarillas (Eurofins), Mohamed Koroma (Pharmavite), and Constance Bahr (AOAC International), as well as Jason Stine (ANSI National Accreditation Board). The discussion focused on developing and validating scientifically valid methods for product integrity.

The event also featured a keynote address with updates on U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory policies and enforcement actions regarding dietary supplements by Haijing Hu, Ph.D., Director, Regulatory and Implementation Staff, FDA Office of Dietary Supplement Programs (ODSP), as well as discussions on Modernization of Cosmetics Regulation Act of 2022 (MoCRA) and botanical issues. Mohamed Koroma, Director of R&D at Pharmavite, was honored as the 2023 GRMA Champion for his exceptional dedication and thought leadership within the Product Integrity Committee (PIC).

“It was an honor to participate in the annual summit alongside my expert colleagues and to contribute to the incredible work by GRMA,” said Dr. Johnson. “On behalf of AHPA, I am also pleased to extend our congratulations to Mohamed Koroma of Pharmavite for receiving the much-deserved GRMA Champion award.”
 

From left: Dr. Johnson with 2023 GRMA Champion Mohamed Koroma (Pharmavite) and Allyn Shultis (GRMA)


GRMA is a nonprofit, independent Certification Program Owner (CPO) that is member-driven and develops standards for the health and wellness category, including dietary supplements, cosmetics, over-the-counter drugs, and consumer products. GRMA members are manufacturers, retailers, certification bodies, associations, and others within the industry.
 

Dr. Johnson (second from right) with AHPA members (from left): Viny Srinivasan (Unilever), Elan Sudberg (Alkemist Labs), and Mark Jost (Gemini Pharmaceuticals)
 

Dr. Johnson (center) with AHPA members (from left): Mohamed Koroma (Pharmavite), Constance Bahr (AOAC International), Elan Sudberg (Alkemist Labs), and Cris Amarillas (Eurofins) at The Nak Kava Bar

AHPA updates four entries to the online Botanical Safety Handbook 2nd Ed. in final 2023 release

New entry for turkey tail reflects the growing importance of mushrooms in the natural products marketplace

December 21, 2023

In this last quarter of 2023, the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) has released updates to four botanicals via the online Botanical Safety Handbook 2nd ed., as well as added a new entry. For this year, 28 entries in the online Botanical Safety Handbook have been updated, and one has been added. Since 2018, when revisions to the online Botanical Safety Handbook were initiated, 149 entries have been updated, and seven new entries have been added.
 
The following online entries have been updated or added in this release:
 

  • Asparagus officinalis (asparagus) – A literature review identified clinical trial reports, animal pharmacology studies, and toxicity studies. The family name was updated to Asparagaceae.

  • Atractylodes lancea (cang-zhu atractylodes) – The recent review added clinical trial reports, animal pharmacology studies, and toxicity studies.

  • Atractylodes macrocephala (bai-zhu atractylodes) – A literature review identified a clinical trial report, animal pharmacology studies, and toxicity studies.

  • Astragalus mongholicus (astragulus) - A recent review identified additional interactions data, clinical trial reports and a case report for adverse events, human and animal pharmacology data, and toxicity studies.

  • Trametes versicolor (turkey tail) – This new entry includes drug and supplement interactions information, clinical trial reports, pharmacology studies, and toxicity studies.

 
AHPA members can obtain an annual individual subscription to the online Botanical Safety Handbook or a hard copy for $95.00, with multi-user rates available for companies needing expanded access. Information about subscriptions and hard copy purchases can be found on the AHPA website.
 
Subscribers to the online Botanical Safety Handbook can review short descriptions of updated entries in the "Revisions" panel on the online version homepage when they log in. The online Botanical Safety Handbook is undergoing review of existing entries and the addition of new entries to provide the latest safety information before it can be included in the next print edition of the handbook. AHPA will continue to post additional updates to existing entries as well as develop new botanical entries.
 
AHPA's Botanical Safety Handbook is an essential tool for anyone who manufactures, recommends, or uses herbal products. The handbook provides safety information on over 500 species of herbs, derived from data compiled from clinical trials, pharmacological and toxicological studies, medical case reports, and historical texts. All entries are reviewed by an Expert Advisory Council that includes some of the most renowned herbal and integrative medicine experts in the United States.

Herbs in History: Pine & Holly

Our journey into herbal history continues for a second year!

 

December 20, 2023


In an effort to preserve and share the fascinating histories of medicinal plants and herbs that have been used around the world for ages, the AHPA Foundation for Education and Research on Botanicals (AHPA-ERB Foundation) is honored to partner with Alain Touwaide, Ph.D., and Emanuela Appetiti of the Institute for the Preservation of Medical Traditions to launch the Herbs in History project in 2022.

We end our herbal history lessons for the year with a look at two festive botanicals: pine and holly. Preview the entries below and visit Herbs in History online to read more.


Pine (Pinus spp.)

More than a Christmas Tree

In these final days of the year, fir (Abies spp.) and spruce (Picea spp.) appear in windows of stores, shops, living rooms, and gardens as Christmas trees. And also in our imagination, remembering the excitement of childhood, Santa Claus’ sleigh and reindeers, gifts under the tree, and family. Christmas trees could also bring back to memory the cough of the cold days of winter, and syrups or lozenges with a fresh resinous taste filling the throat, or even bronchitis and chest frictions with a warming oil and a resinous smell. | Read more...


Holly (Ilex aquifolium L.)

Perennity

If there is a plant that best symbolizes the perennity of nature at the winter solstice that triggers dormancy of nature, it is holly (Ilex aquifolium L.), with its deep green and glossy leaves and its shiny-red berries that illuminate the dark wintery evenings. And it is also typical of these days of the year, in crowns at the door of the house, as a bunch hung to chandeliers, or in branches adorning tables and the Christmas and end-of-year dinners. | Read more...


About the Project

Herbs in History is made possible by funding from the AHPA-ERB Foundation, as part of the nonprofit foundation’s mission promote education and research on medicinal, therapeutic, and health-promoting herbs. Tune in monthly for thoughtfully detailed historical accounts of herbs you know and love, and learn more about the origins of medicinal plants that have stood the test of time.

2024 AHPA Board of Trustees Call for Candidates

Deadline to submit Intent to Stand for Election is Thursday, February 8, 2024

December 14, 2023

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) is issuing its annual call for candidates for elected trustees to the association's Board of Trustees. AHPA's bylaws and election policies govern this nomination process and election.
 
"AHPA’s trustees provide invaluable experience and expertise to our staff and membership, and we are grateful for their leadership and contributions to the association," said AHPA President Michael McGuffin. "We encourage all eligible companies to nominate a representative for this opportunity to help shape the future of this industry."
 
About the Board
 
The number of seats on AHPA’s Board of Trustees consists of a minimum of 22. Two elected seats are reserved for "small business members," defined as Active Members with $5 million or less in annual herbal revenues. The remaining elected seats are available to all Active Members in good standing. The term of office for all elected trustees is three years.
 
AHPA’s Board of Trustees meets three times each year (including in-person meetings at the Natural Products Expo West and SupplySide West trade shows), and trustees are expected to attend all meetings. In addition, trustees are expected to participate in ongoing functions of the organization. While trustees receive no remuneration for their services, the benefits to the companies represented, and to the industry as a whole, are well recognized.
 
Nomination & Election
 
A candidate must be officially nominated in writing by submitting a completed Intent to Stand for Election Form and Candidate’s Statement by no later than Thursday, February 8, 2024.
 
A candidate for AHPA’s Board of Trustees may be an owner, employee, consultant, or other designated representative of the company wishing to be represented on the board. All Active Members in good standing are qualified and encouraged to nominate a candidate.
 
After the call for candidates period closes on Thursday, February 8, 2024, the voting period will open on Monday, February 12, 2024, with the distribution of electronic ballots to all Active Member companies in good standing and eligible to vote.
 
Absentee votes will be accepted until Monday, March 11, 2024 before the in-person election takes place during AHPA's Annual Member Meeting on Wednesday, March 13, 2024 at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA. Candidates will be invited to give brief remarks in-person or record a short video address in advance that will be played for the membership before in-person voting closes.
 
For any questions about the election, please contact Daniela Gonzalez at dgonzalez@ahpa.org.

 

Regulations, reorganization, and the road ahead for dietary supplements and natural products

AHPA's Michael McGuffin for NutraIngredients USA | December 12, 2023

As 2023 comes to a close, so too does another year of progress and innovation in the dietary supplement and natural product industries that the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) proudly serves. The growth of newer product categories – such as fungi-based products and probiotic sodas – both captures and demonstrates the heightened level of consumer interest in supporting their personal health and wellness with dietary supplements and functional foods.

Even so, while product variety and availability today may look substantially different than it did in years past, a look back on AHPA’s efforts in 2023 to support the evolving industry through engagement with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) evokes feelings of “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”

Modernizing labeling regulations

AHPA has increasingly called for regulations governing dietary supplements and natural products to be modernized to better reflect the current market for these products. Throughout 2023, AHPA submitted comments to FDA draft guidances toward that effort, requesting revisions in support of responsible industry and well-informed consumers.

Early this year, AHPA submitted comments to FDA’s proposed rule updating the regulation governing “healthy” claims for food products, including dietary supplements. Under current regulations, use of the term “healthy” is considered an implied nutrient content claim in the labeling of food. Dietary supplements are intended to support a healthy diet and lifestyle, and, per current dietary guidelines, a healthy diet can include herbs and herbal products. Therefore, AHPA is advocating for dietary supplements, unsweetened coffees and teas, and herbs and spices to be able to bear “healthy” claims, among other requests made in our comments that support use of the term “healthy” in ways that will help consumers make beneficial diet choices.

In September, as a continuation of our work on labeling regulation, AHPA submitted comments to FDA’s draft guidance that recommended standards for the use of dietary guidance statements in food labeling. Dietary guidance statements are voluntary statements that “represent or suggest that a food or a food group may contribute to or help maintain a nutritious dietary pattern.” Per the draft guidance, dietary guidance statements are not to be used on dietary supplements. However, similar to our position regarding “healthy” claims, AHPA contends that dietary supplements should be able to bear dietary guidance statements. Consumers should have every opportunity to learn about the role that these products play in a healthy and nutritious diet.

Though there have been no further regulatory developments on the use of “healthy” claims and dietary guidance statements, AHPA will continue to closely follow FDA's positions on nutrition labeling and fight for manufacturers and marketers of dietary supplements and natural products to be able to share truthful and not misleading information with the public. Meanwhile, in addition to commenting on draft guidances, AHPA has also taken other, proactive approaches to seek action from FDA on matters impacting the industry.

Herbs in History: Laurel & Fig

Our journey into herbal history continues for a second year!

 

December 8, 2023


In an effort to preserve and share the fascinating histories of medicinal plants and herbs that have been used around the world for ages, the AHPA Foundation for Education and Research on Botanicals (AHPA-ERB Foundation) is honored to partner with Alain Touwaide, Ph.D., and Emanuela Appetiti of the Institute for the Preservation of Medical Traditions to launch the Herbs in History project in 2022.

Our second year of journeying into herbal history continues with a look into the backgrounds of laurel and fig. Preview the entries below and visit Herbs in History online to read more.


Laurel (Laurus nobilis L.)

Apollo and deep memory

Immortalized by Linnaeus as a noble tree, laurel (Laurus nobilis L.) has indeed a pedigree that very few plants can claim, from Apollo to the Roman emperors. It has a noble stature, growing up to 12 m (39 ft) with a foliage up to 10 m wide (32 ft) in the Mediterranean campaign and deservedly punctuates the famous via dei Fori Imperiali (the Imperial Fora) in Rome under the canopy of the higher pines. | Read more...


Fig (Ficus carica L.)

The most valuable fruit

Figs (Ficus carica L.) need no presentation. They are well known, be they dark blue or light green, fresh or dry. They remind us of the Mediterranean and its sun, the wide trees with a dome-shaped canopy, their dark green leaves, pale green undersides, palmate, large up to 10 inches, with three to five lobes, hairy, and emanating a typical fragrant scent. And the sugary taste, their hundreds of small seeds, and a crunchy feeling when eating figs, which, when they are very ripe, drip a honey-like, paradisiac syrup. Or, also, the dry figs, packed and interspersed with Noble Laurel leaves that preserve them from insects. | Read more...


About the Project

Herbs in History is made possible by funding from the AHPA-ERB Foundation, as part of the nonprofit foundation’s mission promote education and research on medicinal, therapeutic, and health-promoting herbs. Tune in monthly for thoughtfully detailed historical accounts of herbs you know and love, and learn more about the origins of medicinal plants that have stood the test of time.

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