Dry Labbing...

March 2012, Warren Matthews

Summary

Rather an odd 'heading' which I hadn’t heard of until a couple of days ago.  Apparently this is the term used by some people to describe the practice in which some laboratories doing testing for dietary supplement companies don’t actually do the tests at all!

Rather an odd 'heading' which I hadn’t heard of until a couple of days ago.  Apparently this is the term used by some people to describe the practice in which some laboratories doing testing for dietary supplement companies don’t actually do the tests at all!

Instead they claim they have the correct equipment for the testing and provide a report saying that the ingredient being tested meets the specification, even when they haven’t done the test.  In some cases this is done in collaboration with the manufacturer, sometimes not.

This was to be the theme of “Dateline NBC” in a story about the dietary supplement industry which was to have aired last Sunday the 18th March.  Not sure if it did go to air as we have not had any feedback as yet.

It is a real shame that some companies stoop to such low levels which brings the entire industry into disrepute.  The cost of testing is not that great relative to the overall cost of producing a product so there is no excuse for a manufacturer not doing proper testing…

With regard to labs that indulge in this practice, and manufacturers that knowingly participate they are nothing short of fraudulent enterprises!  Over time these companies will be weeded out as a good auditor will discover these practices. 

Finding good labs, as with finding good manufacturers is a time consuming business.  We spent many months researching reliable qualified labs.  We need multiple labs because we conduct many specialised tests and no one lab can do all of them as they require different equipment, or, in some cases they may have the equipment but they have not developed the validated methods to carry out specific tests.  This accreditation is either from a government agency, such as the FDA in the USA or Medsafe (Department of Health) in New Zealand or organizations like IANZ (International Accreditation New Zealand) or ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board/ACLASS in the USA who audit the Laboratories compliance with GLP’s (Good Laboratory Practice’s) and ISO standards.

In other words you may have a government approved lab (or in the case of one of the labs we use, a government owned lab) but it may not be setup to do certain tests.  We use seven labs.  Three in New Zealand, three in the USA, and one in Australia.  They have all proven to be reliable, ethical and accurate.  They are as follows:

  • Asure Quality - New Zealand
  • Cawthron - New Zealand
  • Hills Laboratories - New Zealand
  • Venture Laboratories - USA
  • Intertek/AAC  Laboratories - USA
  • Alkemists Laboratories - USA
  • Southern Cross University – Australia

How can you be sure I am telling the truth about these labs when you can’t call them and ask them if Xtend-Life is a customer due to their confidentiality policies?  If you have any concerns you can ask us and we can give you documented copies of recent tests they have carried out on our behalf.

Bottom line…you can rest assured that we do not cut any corners when it comes to testing (and we can prove it).  In fact, one of our QA staff spends most of his time taking samples, and couriering them to the labs and collating the results before the ingredient is released from quarantine providing it has passed all tests.

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