NIST Says the Time Is Ripe for Berry Standards

Gaithersburg, MD—The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has put out reference materials for supplements that include Vaccinium berries. New to its library are a suite of quality assurance tools for the following dietary supplement ingredients: cranberry, blueberry, bilberry and mixed berry.

This initiative is part of a multi-year interagency collaboration among NIST, the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The group felt such standards were necessary to help combat “the risk of economic adulteration.” This means that some manufacturers dilute beneficial berry extracts with cheaper juices (like grape) to help save money. The team also believes that some makers use blueberries in their formulas to help cut costs, though their products indicate bilberry is the chief ingredient.

In the past, it was tough to check formulas for accuracy because previous standards did not account for the intricate characteristics of whole berries. The new standards are said to help industry better analyze specific ratios for the berries’ organic acid.

For more information, visit

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, January 2011 (published ahead of print on 11/19/2010)