East Windsor, NJ—Sabinsa reported that it has sent a cease & desist letter to Applied Food Sciences (AFS). At issue: Sabinsa contends that AFS is making claims of high levels of natural vitamin C in its branded amla (Emblica officinalis) extract, and that AFS’s representations that the product contains 25% vitamin C derived from amla “mislead and deceive consumers and constitute unfair competition and false advertising under applicable law.”

Sabinsa first raised concerns about this issue in June,stating: Because vitamin C occurs only in trace quantities in amla, it is not economically feasible to isolate and extract vitamin C up to 25% from that raw material. However, some companies are claiming to offer 25% weight for weight vitamin C derived from amla and further alleging their material is organic.

In August, Sabinsa followed up with the letter. “As we stated in the cease & desist letter, we welcome competition when it is fair and not likely to mislead consumers, however, suppliers who blend fermentation-derived vitamin C with amla extract to claim a high amount of vitamin C must disclose it,” said Sabinsa Founder and Chairman Dr. Muhammed Majeed in a press release. “As we’ve done in the past taking action against suppliers selling synthetic curcumin labeled as turmeric extract, so too will we be relentless in protecting the integrity of the amla market.”

The letter demands that AFS stop making those false claims and notify all customers, and accurately identify the source of vitamin C in their ingredient in the future.

WholeFoodsreached out to Brian Zapp, Creative Director for AFS, who emailed the company's official statement: "AFS stands behind each and every one of its claims for PurC organic vitamin C from amla. AFS expressly denies, in their entirety, the allegations that any of its advertising for PurC is false or misleading. It is categorically untrue that the source of vitamin C in AFS’ PurC is anything other than from amla fruit and AFS can verify those claims with clear, empirical documentation. Sabinsa’s suppositions are clearly flawed in this matter."
Related: Artemis Raises Concerns on Adulteration of Elderberry ABC: Record-Breaking Herbal Sales Predicted for 2020 SHP Publishes Sustainability & Regenerative Practices Toolkit