Do you REALLY know what you are buying? a brief guide to responsible sourcing of raw materials for the manufacture of supplements


CRN UK, London, United Kingdom


The purchasing of raw materials for the manufacture of food supplements is a demanding, complex procedure where mistakes could potentially lead to the serious injury, or even death, of consumers. Purchasers must ensure they procure raw materials that can be shown to meet their purchasing specifications and that these raw materials are free of contaminants. This article will examine the practical and regulatory issues to be considered.


The financial impact of a wrong decision when purchasing raw materials can be enormous, resulting in losses to a company of millions of Euros. Two examples of this are contamination of Indian spices with Sudan1 used as a red food dye (1) and contamination of fish oil with dioxin (2) in 2005 and 2006 respectively. In 2005, over 350 products were recalled from shop shelves in the UK due to contamination of Indian spices by the carcinogenic substance Sudan 1, used as a red colourant. In 2006, “super-strength” fish oil capsules were withdrawn from sale because stricter EU limits meant they exceed the maximum limits of dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs. One faulty ingredient can result in the recall of a finished product. In both cases, the destruction of finished products ran into millions of Euros and had a significant and negative effect on the manufacturing companies’ reputations.

In the food supplement industry, the cheapest option is very rarely the best option! Rather, the decision to purchase a particular ingredient should only be made after detailed discussion with the potential supplier, covering such areas as speci ...