By Nick Rana, CN, NOW Quality Assurance Dept.
Quietly meeting in a conference room on a weekly basis is a group of five experienced, well seasoned individuals with 110 years combined expertise in areas ranging from Human Nutrition and Chemical Engineering to Business and Marketing Management. We’re the New Product Development Sales and Marketing team. Our goal is to keep in step with the newest trends and research in the Natural Foods Industry.
Gathering data from different research and media sources, we keep our finger on the pulse of the news that’s revealing how novel nutraceuticals are being discovered and studied for their effects on human health. The evaluation process of a new ingredient may take weeks - and sometimes months - as several stages of development are simultaneously employed, including (but not limited to) the following steps:
1) Our group reviews the validity of the information with the aid of our in-house research scientists. If the data is verifiable and a positive review has been reached, we decide if and when we will incorporate the ingredient into our line, whether as a stand-alone product or as part of a formula.
2) Once a safe and effective dose is established through published research and/or traditional human use, we specify the dose and type of capsule or tablet that’s preferred. After considering the mechanism of action and the function of the ingredient, we may decide efficacy would be increased with added nutrients or herbs having like or supporting properties. We then begin to design and document the formula on a PDF (Product Development Form).
3) If the ingredient is patented or trademarked, we contact the sole vendor and request 3rd party certificates of analysis that identify the active components, as well as heavy metal, microbiological and other contaminants that may be of concern. We also request other related safety and method of analysis documentation, as well as corresponding samples of the raw material for our in house QC (Quality Control) department to evaluate.
We also rely on outside qualified 3rd party labs to analyze components, when necessary to complete the QC qualification process. If the ingredient is not patented and manufactured by only one vendor we contact one or more of our pre-qualified vendors with whom we have built long term relationships, and the same ingredient qualification process is employed.
4) Internal Specification sheets are produced by our Quality Assurance department that contain valuable data regarding potency, stability, toxicity, chemical profile, density, color, aroma, heavy metal, microbiological, lab assays, verified methods of analysis, vendor specs and other pertinent information. These Spec sheets are an important tool utilized by our Quality Control and Operations departments in order to ensure batch to batch consistency. These are customized and employed for every ingredient used for our product production.
5) The raw material is sent to our R&D (Research and Development) Technical Group, which evaluates the material’s ability to blend the ingredient with specific synergistic nutrients and encapsulate or tablet the formula to meet our specifications. Some products degrade quickly and are so sensitive to the environment, both outside and inside the human body, that they require special processing, coating or package inserts to assure our label claims of potency and efficacy. Our QC department employs both real time and accelerated stability testing to challenge each formulation’s ability to withstand the oxidative, humidity and/or pH stress that it may encounter throughout its shelf life, when stored and used as directed. After an R&D sample is approved, an introduction date is finalized and the product is listed with an official item number in the New Product Introduction listing.
There are many other sales, marketing and quality assurance details that are also involved in the successful release of a new product. As a family owned and operated leader in the Natural Food Industry, we take seriously our responsibility to address any and all issues that impact quality, efficacy and safety prior to offering a new product to the world, as required by our certification as a Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) production facility. All of our products are offered along with our prayer that all who seek the best of health can trust that our products can empower them to live healthier lives.