The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) has developed and launched free assessment tools to be used in conjunction with its recently released Good Agricultural and Collection Practices (GACP) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) for Botanical Materials.

According to theAHPA website, the guidance and assessment tools are to serve as a template during the operations of harvesters, growers and processors to help ensure raw herbal materials that are used in products for consumers are correctly identified and not adulterated with contaminants that may present a public health risk, as well as have all of the characteristics of which they represent.

"The guidance and assessment tools provide an easy-to-follow road map to implement and appraise best practices for most botanical operations," said Jane Wilson, AHPA's director of program development. "These free resources help companies identify and document practices that adhere to the GACP-GMP guidance and look for opportunities to further expand their commitment to producing and supplying quality botanical materials."

In total, nine assessment tools are available on the GACP-GMP resource center, which cover Botanical Identity and Quality, Cultivation, Wild Collection, General Farm Standards, Harvest, Post-Harvest Handling, Further Processing, Food Facility and Farm Mixed-Type Facility, and Dietary Ingredient Supplier.

In addition, the assessment tools can document the adoption of relevant GACP-GMP practices by suppliers. Suppliers completing the assessment can identify and document quality practices in the supply chain for companies. Companies can also work with suppliers to identify and adhere to sections of the practices.

The Council for Responsible Nutrition issued a supporting statement.

"There has been a need for best practices that are easily adaptable for growers, harvesters, and processors to improve their operations for the cultivation, wild collection, and processing of botanical crops, and we commend AHPA for filling this gap," said Steve Mister, CRN president and ceo. "Creating standards such as these provides companies of all sizes an equal opportunity to succeed in the marketplace and strengthens the overall supply chain. Ultimately, adherence to these guidelines will help to assure our consumers of consistently high-quality botanical supplements that deliver on their health benefits every time.

"CRN is committed to participating in meaningful self-regulatory initiatives. In unanimously adopting this resolution of support, CRN's board of directors has given strong consideration as to how the AHPA guidelines might be incorporated into member operations. As the industry continues to grow and innovate, we embrace our colleagues' efforts to increase adherence to legal, ethical, and safety standards. AHPA's guidelines are no exception and we look forward to witnessing the positive impact they will have."

Posted on WholeFoods Magazine Online, 8/9/2017