When testing dietary supplements for pesticides, it is important for manufacturers to conduct a risk assessment of their raw materials to determine the likelihood of pesticide contamination and the need for testing. This risk assessment should take into account the botanical origins of the raw materials. Botanical ingredients are more likely to be exposed to pesticides during cultivation and harvesting compared to synthetic or highly refined materials. Botanical extracts can also contain pesticides that may be co-extracted or even concentrated during the botanical extraction process.
If the risk assessment determines that testing for pesticides is necessary, the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) and European Pharmacopoeia (EP) provide methods for identifying and quantifying pesticides in dietary supplements. The USP General Chapter <561> Articles of Botanical Origin and EP General Chapter 2.8.13 on Pesticide Residues provide guidelines and analytical methods for testing dietary supplements for pesticides. These methods include sample preparation, separation, and detection techniques using specialized equipment and trained analysts in accredited laboratories. In Canada, the Quality of Natural Health Products Guidelines gives some useful information on when pesticide testing should be considered for a natural health product. For cannabis products, state level jurisdictions usually mandate pesticide testing on dry flower. In Canada, pesticide testing is required on each batch of dry cannabis flower as well as some extracted products with different lab limits set for fresh cannabis flower, dry cannabis flower and cannabis oils (extracts).
Pesticide methods utilize techniques such as high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and gas chromatography (GC) for separating and detecting pesticides in dietary supplements. These methods require specialized equipment and expertise, and they must be performed by trained analysts in accredited laboratories. If you are examining a certificate of analysis for a finished good or raw material that lists pesticide testing, it should list all compounds tested for and the laboratory’s limit of quantitation for that compound.
If you’re looking for pesticide testing for dietary supplements, ingredients, cannabis or other products contact us today!