Emerson Ecologics – Quality Matters!
By Lise Alschuler, N.D.
Using dietary supplements to improve health is a rational and impactful healthcare strategy. With the increasing emphasis on wellness and health optimization, in addition to the core importance of prevention and holistic disease management, the role for dietary supplements looms large. The lynch pin of the effectiveness of dietary supplements in improving health lies squarely with their quality. Assuming that a right choice of supplements has been made, the supplement itself must be exactly what it is labeled to be and free of contamination.
While the dietary supplement industry has, by and large, made significant strides towards assuring the consistent manufacture of high quality products, challenges remain. There are, unfortunately, manufacturers who are not compliant with the Federal regulations for the manufacture of dietary supplement (Code of Federal Regulations, Part 111), the so-called ‘bad apples’ in the bunch. There are also dietary supplement manufacturers that are complying with the law, but are doing so ineffectually. The quality of products from these manufacturers can vary. Fortunately, there is a stalwart of exemplary manufacturers that consistently produce exceptional quality products. These manufacturers produce products that healthcare practitioners can, and should, rely upon to achieve their intended clinical outcomes. In fact, when recommending dietary supplements, the practitioner’s ethical responsibility extends to directing their patients to reliable and trustworthy supplements. Insuring that a patient takes a quality supplement is an integral part of the practitioner’s duty to their patients.
Understanding the nuances of quality manufacturing to the extent of being able to reliably recommend high quality supplements is not an easy task. Doing a reliable quality assessment in order to use quality as a differentiator in product selection includes assessing the manufacturer’s practices regarding:
- Good Manufacturing Practices including, but not limited to: plant hygiene, personnel training, standard operating procedures, adverse event reporting, equipment maintenance and validation.
- Raw material supplier qualification including specifications, validation of certificates of analysis, procedure for raw material rejections, frequency and scope of on-site and documentation audits.
- Raw material quality including: sampling methodology for analytic testing, specifications for acceptance levels, material-specific methodology and frequency of testing for identity, potency, heavy metals, pesticides/herbicides, solvent residues, microbiological contamination, and other relevant contaminants.
- Finished product quality including: potency and stability testing, contaminant testing, and dissolution and disintegration testing.
And, while evaluating each of these aspects of quality manufacturing, considerations regarding the history of the manufacturer’s quality, their quality certifications, the degree of risk represented by their products, and the reliability of the quality assessment methods themselves must be examined.
This is a lot to do, never mind for a busy healthcare practitioner. In recognition of both the importance of quality as well as the challenges to gathering this information in a comprehensive manner, Emerson Ecologics launched the Emerson Quality Program , or EQP, in 2010. This program relies upon voluntary participation by manufacturers. While the program does not require any fees of its participants, it does require significant time and resources from both the manufacturer and Emerson. The evaluation is comprehensive and includes an application, a documentation audit, on-site audits and, for our EQP Gold partners, independent product testing. The EQP presents all of this information in a condensed format on the quality page of Emerson Ecologics website, where logged in practitioners can learn the details of the quality practices for each participating EQP Partner in a matter of minutes. In addition, the seal designation of each manufacturer by EQP Partner, EQP Silver Partner, and EQP Gold Partner gives an even faster measure of the quality manufacturing practices of these suppliers.
Emerson Ecologics has invested its own resources into this program because we recognize the integral importance of quality for healthcare practitioners. We also understand that practitioners need a trustworthy place to seek the answers to their quality questions. Spend a few minutes of your time on our Quality page at emersonecologics.com/quality and see for yourself how easy it is to incorporate quality into your product selections.*