Fruit d’Or said it is “on a mission to debunk the junk of inferior quality cranberry ingredients.” They are asking for industry to raise the bar to establish higher quality testing standards and hold suppliers accountable for safety, efficacy, and standardization of the cranberry that they are selling to manufacturers.
“Unfortunately, some manufacturers and consumers are being misled,” says Stephen Lukawski, director of sales and business development for Fruit d’Or. “We need to put suppliers and manufacturers on notice that certain suppliers are disguising low-quality, non-standardized cranberry as quality cranberry. If it’s the color brown—that’s not even cranberry color!
“Just look at the published study that was done in 2012, where 19 cranberry products were tested and most had failed to have any anti-adhesion activity. We cannot let a few bad players continue to hurt the credibility of the cranberry industry and affect all the good work that other manufacturers are doing. We need to raise the bar of entry for suppliers with higher quality standards such as DNA for authenticity, prevention of adulteration, and more testing to determine efficacy and standardization.”
Holding Suppliers Accountable
Lukawski said, despite significant advances in standardized testing methods and the introduction of new analytical equipment such as Maldi-Tof, there are valid concerns about cranberry quality and adulteration. “We’re still finding plenty of products on the market that even to the naked eye and with taste testing do not appear to be what the label says they are. Adulteration is a well-established problem. It’s no defense to say your COA was fine. With all the advanced tools and equipment that we have for testing, there is no reason why manufacturers should be selling non-standardized cranberry ingredients. Consumers want products that are tested for efficacy and that are safe for consumption.”
He added, “The value of the testing is about $400 per product. Fruit d’Or is investing in the future because they believe that consumers’ health and safety need to be protected and that cranberry products should deliver quality as promised. What’s on the label needs to be in the bottle and that product should work. To say that 500 mg is equivalent to seven glasses of cranberry juice is so misleading to consumers and this nonsense marketing needs to stop.
“Suppliers promoting outdated cranberry studies or those suppliers who have the attitude of ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ or ‘catch me if you can’ will now be called out and held accountable for the quality that they are selling.”
Product Testing for Authentication & Efficacy
The wide variety of testing methods are creating confusion with misleading, inaccurate and inconsistent results for PAC content.
For years, Fruit d’Or has advocated for test method standardization from both AOAC and USP to measure soluble and insoluble PACs. “What we’re seeing now is some manufacturers chasing different test methods to obtain test results to get higher PAC levels,” Lukawski observed.
Testing of these cranberry products will be conducted by Christian Krueger, CEO of Complete Phytochemical Solutions, LLC. There, they will be tested for their soluble PAC levels using the DMAC test method, using reference standards A2 and C-PAC. “The 4-(dimethylamino) cinnamaldehyde (DMAC) assay is the preferred method for quantification of soluble (extractable) PAC,” said Lukawski. “This method was included in the 2016 American Herbal Pharmacopeia cranberry monograph, a guidance document for standards of analysis and quality control.”
Once the product’s cranberry is authenticated, it will be sent to Amy B. Howell, PhD, an associate research scientist at the Marucci Center for Blueberry and Cranberry Research at Rutgers University, for uropathogenic bacterial anti-adhesion testing. “Anti-adhesion verification is very important for brand marketers and consumers, who want and deserve assurance that their cranberry product will support a healthy urinary system,” stressed Lukawski.
After the cranberry products are tested for anti-adhesion activity they will be sent to USP for further testing to determine possible adulteration of foreign contaminants.
Elevating the Industry
In the end, Lukawski says that the testing of these cranberry products is necessary to reinforce higher standards and encourage industry professionals to take the necessary steps to ensure they are consistently producing a quality product. “It comes down to what quality control protocols you would insist on for brands that you give your friends and loved ones. For all manufacturers, you want to source quality ingredients back to the grower. You’d want to follow testing and manufacturing standards that ensure efficacy and prevent adulteration. And when a product comes off the line, you’d want to randomly test it periodically to ensure that all your hard work is still resulting in a safe, reliable product that performs the way it should perform.”