Fruit d’Or is first to earn the seal for this program, which is designed to
ensure cranberry authenticity, analyze for adulteration and establish efficacy.
The industry’s first-ever cranberry supplier quality program, Cranberry Quality Assurance (CQA), will ensure ultimate consumer safety in the widening variety of natural, whole-food cranberry and cranberry juice supplements aimed at urinary tract, oral and gut health.
According to Stephen Lukawski, director of Sales and Business Development for Fruit d’Or, a pioneer in the cranberry industry for more than 15 years, the CQA is a supplier program that sets new quality standards. It assures the cranberry powder being sold has been tested for identity, safety, purity and efficacy. “The objective is to provide cranberry powder that contains the highest standard of quality, protecting the industry stakeholders along with the health and wellness of consumers, and setting the bar for long-term success of this nutraceutical ingredient.”
Under this supplier testing program, the whole-food cranberry and juice powder is voluntarily submitted to an approved, third-party independent laboratory, where it will undergo the following tests:
- Fingerprint analysis for identification via MALDI-TOF
- DNA sequential bar coding for authenticity
- Analysis for adulteration via MALDI-TOF
- Standardization of biomarkers such as proanthocyanidins (PACs)
- Anti-adhesion testing to establish efficacy
The program’s purpose is to test the starting cranberry powder from growers to manufacturers. The program features a colorful CQA logo to showcase that the cranberry material used has passed all five steps. “Consumers will recognize the CQA logo as a seal that guarantees that both the supplier and the manufacturer have done their due diligence to provide safety, purity and efficacy.”
“To save itself – and that’s indeed what needs to happen – cranberry industry stakeholders need to accept responsibility and become more accountable. That means raising the bar on quality standards. Self-regulation is essential. I am encouraged that reputable companies, such as Fruit d’Or Nutraceuticals, are taking bold steps to deal with the hurdles that threaten the long-term future of the cranberry industry. It is my sincere hope that others in this, and related industries, will follow suit,” comments Researcher Christian G. Krueger of Complete Phytochemical Solutions, LLC, who has introduced the methods for measuring cranberry’s insoluble PACs and has also developed reference standards.
Lukawski also emphasizes the importance of this program in light of cranberry product coming in offshore that has been adulterated with a disparate variety of other ingredients such as grape and peanut skins, plum and black bean in order to increase PACs. “Supplements made with these ingredients and mislabeled for cranberry benefits are deceptive and damaging to the credibility of our industry. Research shows that pure cranberry and its PACs (soluble and insoluble) have powerful bacterial anti-adhesion properties that support urinary tract, oral and gut health. PACs in and of themselves are great for antioxidant and heart-health benefits, but not for cranberry-specific properties.”
He adds that the impetus for the program stemmed from, “reports of adulteration happening in cranberry products, and the lack of standardization and efficacy of cranberry products currently on the shelf. The New York Attorney General’s attack on this industry raised consumer concerns and eroded trust. This program changes the landscape of how cranberry whole-food material – and others – can be sold in the future. Not all cranberry is of the same quality,” states Lukawski.
“Therefore we are calling on all nutraceutical manufacturers and industry stakeholders to ask cranberry suppliers to engage in this program in order to achieve higher quality standards that will result in transparency and achieve safety for consumers. We also hope this program will be a template for other botanicals.”
Fruit d’Or, a global leader in organic processing and supply of nutraceutical cranberry and
blueberry powders, is the first whole-food cranberry powder company to sign up and achieve the CQA seal.
Media Note: For additional information, or to schedule an interview, contact Media Relations, Inc. at 952-697-5220.
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
What is the Cranberry Quality Assurance program?
The CQA is a supplier quality testing program designed for cranberry suppliers to guarantee that the cranberry being manufactured and sold has been tested to ensure identity, safety, purity and efficacy.
Who created the CQA Supplier Testing program?
The CQA was first created by Stephen Lukawski, CEO of RS Specialty Ingredients , a veteran cranberry formulator and supplier of botanical ingredients since the 1990s. With the help of industry stakeholders the CQA was then organized by an advisory panel comprised of nutraceutical experts, to establish higher quality standards for cranberry suppliers.
Why was CQA supplier testing program developed?
There are two significant factors that imposed the need to create standards for cranberry powder through a quantitative and qualitative testing protocol. First, offshore suppliers entering the U.S. supplement market with adulterated cranberry (often blended with other high-PAC materials such as grape and peanut skins, plum and black beans), which do not provide the same benefits as cranberry, and the 2014 investigation of supplements from the NY Attorney General that revealed adulterated and mislabeled dietary supplement products.
With those two factors in mind, it is time to move into the future of cranberry to grow and protect the industry and consumers through standardization and efficacy. Until now, there has been no sweeping standardization of this super berry, which has resulted in disparity of efficacy and safety. There has been no sufficient testing procedures and methodology, reference standards and availability of sophisticated analytical equipment, such as MALDI-TOF.
What are the objectives of the CQA Supplier Testing program?
To provide cranberry powders that contain the highest standards of quality, that protect the industry stakeholders along with the health and wellness of consumers.
How are these objectives achieved?
By establishing a standardization of quality through tests performed by third-party independent laboratories (Complete Phytochemical Solutions LLC and NSF- Authen Technologies) to demonstrate purity, safety and efficacy.
What tests are involved in the CQA Supplier program?
Under this 5-Star Supplier testing program, cranberry material submitted will undergo the following tests:
- Polyphenol Fingerprinting analysis for identification of bioactive ingredients
- DNA sequential bar coding for botanical species authenticity
- Analysis for adulteration via MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry
- Standardization of biomarkers such as proanthocyanidins (PACs)
- Anti-adhesion testing to establish efficacy
How does CQA Supplier Testing program protect consumers?
When consumers see the CQA logo and the support of manufacturers, they will recognize a seal that guarantees all the testing has been done by both the supplier and manufacturer that protects them by providing the highest quality cranberry supplement possible.
How does the CQA Supplier Testing program work?
Cranberry suppliers voluntarily submit their cranberry powders for testing to an approved third-party independent laboratory which performs the tests mentioned above.
Does CQA also test for cranberry quality in finished products?
No. The program is not designed for finished products. The purpose of the program is to test the starting cranberry powder from growers to manufacturers.
Who benefits by becoming involved in the CQA Supplier Testing program?
Manufacturers, consumers, nutraceutical industry stakeholders and the cranberry industry all will be protected. High quality standards, manufacturers’ businesses, brands and reputations will be protected. More trust and credibility will be achieved for industry stakeholders. Consumers will gain more trust and confidence in cranberry products at the retail level.
Why is the CQA Supplier Testing program important?
It is our priority to protect the health and safety of consumers by introducing cranberry powders and products that provide quality and efficacy. Not all cranberry products are of the same quality. Therefore, the Cranberry supplier program generates more credibility and trust within the nutraceutical industry to win the respect and confidence of both consumers and the media. The industry is under pressure by government and media to improve the quality of dietary supplements and to ensure there is authenticity, efficacy, standardization and no adulteration.
How is the CQA Supplier Testing program enforced?
It is enforced by a third-party certification company. RS Specialty Ingredients receives the powder. The supplier is registered and receives all documentation so there is traceability and transparency. Once material is tested, the powder is returned and registered under the CQA program. That registration will held at Complete Phytochemical Solutions.
Is there a cost involved with CQA Supplier Testing program?
The ingredient suppliers will absorb these costs, which will be built into their pricing structure. The goal of the CQA program is to offer the highest quality, that will protect the consumer and bring more efficacious product to the retail shelf. We feel it is the responsibility of the supplier to absorb all the costs necessary to showcase the quality behind the raw material and to achieve a superior standard of quality to bring peace of mind to the manufacturers, who in turn, can provide that to their consumers.
How is the CQA seal available for use?
The seal is available to those who purchase the cranberry material or have their current material tested through the program. The seal can be used on product labels, consumer brochures and advertising, and on social media.
If I am a supplier or manufacturer, how do I go about submitting my cranberry powder material?
Suppliers or manufactures selling cranberry register to participate in the program. They will send their samples to RS Specialty Ingredients.
How long is the process?
Once material is received, the supplier or manufacturer should expect to receive complete test results in approximately 4-6 weeks, due to the nature of the extensive testing. The cranberry powder is sent by the third-party certification company through RS Specialty Ingredients to NSF International, the foremost public health and safety organization for DNA testing as well as to Complete Phytochemical Solutions for chemical analysis, adulteration and Polyphenol Finger- printing and also Rutgers University for anti-adhesion testing.
How Often Are The CQA Tests performed?
Every lot will be tested. The focus is on pure whole food cranberry powders and cranberry extract powders made from either fruit or juice. Testing can be done on whole fruit powder, the frozen fruit and the juice concentrate.
What brands have participated in the CQA so far?
Fruit d’Or (maker of organic Cran Naturelle and non-organic Cran d’Or whole food cranberry and organic juice powders), which includes the following North American manufacturers:
Garden of Life
Advantage Health Matters