BAPP Publishes LGD on Turmeric

Composition with bowl of turmeric powder on wooden table.

Austin, TX—The ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program (BAPP) has announced the publication of a new Laboratory Guidance Document (LGD) on turmeric raw material and products, according to a press release.

While turmeric has a long history of use, the release notes, its popularity has only recently surged in countries outside Asia. In 2018, turmeric dietary supplements ranked second and third in sales in the U.S. natural food store and mainstream retail outlet channels, respectively.

Reports of turmeric adulteration often describe substitution with other Curcuma species or the undeclared admixture of starches or dyes, the release says. Other types of adulteration reported include the addition of undeclared synthetic curcumin and mixtures of synthetic curcuminoids; synthetic curcuminoids can be made for about one-third the cost of natural curcuminoids.

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The LGD is written by John H. Cardellina II, Ph.D., and has been peer-reviewed by 29 international experts from academia, third-party contract analytical laboratories, and the herbal dietary supplement and herb and spice industries. It provides an evaluation of the usefulness of published analytical methods to detect the adulteration of turmeric root/rhizome raw material and extracts and finished turmeric products, and summarizes advantages and disadvantages of each method. The document also details the chemical composition of turmeric root and rhizome, potential confounding species, and known adulterants.

Mark Blumenthal, ABC Founder and Executive Director and BAPP Founder and Director, said in the release: “Once again, BAPP has identified a common spice that has a growing public demand for its medicinal properties, and which unscrupulous sellers in the international herb market have adulterated with lower-cost adulterants and fraudulent materials. BAPP’s newest LGD on turmeric will be a much-needed beneficial resource for hundreds of industry, university, third-party, and government analytical laboratories around the world.”

Cardellina added: “The adulteration of turmeric is one of the more complex cases that BAPP has tackled. Synthetic organic and inorganic colorants used to improve the color of poor grade or fraudulent raw material present serious health and safety concerns, while substituting or admixing with other species of Curcuma deprives consumers of the beneficial compounds provided by C. longa. The addition of synthetic curcuminoids can create safety issues due to the possible presence of reagents and side products from the synthetic methods used. Fortunately, this LGD reviews a substantial number of analytical methods to address these many forms of adulteration.”

All LGDs are freely accessible on ABC’s website.