Companies which manufacture plant-based products (e.g. food supplements, fodder additives, cosmetics, teas, herbal extracts, herbal medicinal products, etc.) depend on the high quality of herbal raw materials.
In addition to the quality, the availability of a raw material also plays a crucial role.
In order to ensure an on-time, sustainable and reproducible supply of high-quality raw materials in sufficient quantities, VitaPlant has established and standardised processes which allow for a better control of these influential factors. These processes are summarised under the heading “Quality Preserved Production” (QPP) and include the following factors, amongst others:
- Geographical origin of the raw material (e.g. climate, soil, neighbouring cultures, diversification of production etc.)
- Botanic properties (e.g. annual or perennial plants, resistance to frost, self- or cross-pollination, vegetative propagation etc.)
- Genetic characteristics (e.g. ploidy, self-incompatibility, etc.) of the plant
- Cultivation, harvesting and processing properties of the plant (e.g. soil and climate requirements, nutrient and water deprivation and requirements, competitive strength, susceptibility to diseases and pests, stage of development at harvest time, drying procedure, temperature and duration etc.)
- Storage and transport conditions (min. and max. temperature, humidity, cross-contamination during storage etc.)
- Availability of seeds and materials for propagation (e.g. protection status of the plant, import and export restrictions, CITES, CBD, ABS etc.)
- Compliance with GACP and GMP Annex 7 and the provisions / recommendations specified in these guidelines (e.g. elaboration of production requirements specific to raw materials, auditing, documentation of production, traceability, quality control of the raw material by certified laboratories etc.)
The quality of a raw material is reflected in an equal content of desired ingredients (e.g. herbal secondary substances) and by a lack of undesired ingredients or contaminants (e.g. aflatoxins). In addition to phytochemical studies, pharmacological studies may be necessary to establish this.