Throughout the 21st century, there has been a rise in popularity in wanting to take better care of ourselves and choosing products that will help us achieve our goals for both mind and body. This could be through a healthier diet, or even selecting a targeted vitamin or group of herbs and minerals. From knowing what ingredients are in your supplements to knowing where those ingredients come from, we are all becoming more conscious of what we are consuming, and rightly, holding companies to account. Consumers are focusing on ensuring that manufacturers and sellers have full transparency and traceability, and rightly so. But what does it really mean to be fully traceable?

What is traceability?

Traceability can be defined in several ways, but most commonly, ‘as a series of procedures that allow you to follow the process of evolution of a product in each of its stages.’ [1]. Put simply, it is knowing the history of a product throughout the entire supply chain all the way from the inception of each ingredient to being in your hands. Every step should be documented, including locations, suppliers, and batch numbers so that each individual container can be tracked and traced right back to the farm where the ingredients were grown.

Know your ingredients

You may have come across plenty of supplements where the different vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C or zinc, are listed on the ingredients list, but very little else. This can be an excellent indicator of whether the supplement ingredients are synthetic or from natural sources. Natural food sources must be listed on the label, so, seeing ‘vitamin C’ rather than ‘vitamin C from amla’ could mean that it has been lab produced, or that guidelines are not being followed.

Where do they come from?

It’s important that your supplement provider can trace not only what the ingredients are, but also where they come from. This doesn’t only mean the location where they were grown, but gets down to the specifics including the season and year they were harvested, and even which field they were grown in. Knowing these details allows manufacturers and sellers to follow each bottle right back to its origin, identifying any variations that may occur.

Why is traceability important?

Certifications & Standardisation

Companies may label their products as vegan, organic, halal etc., and to be certified they must be checked and confirmed to have followed the necessary guidelines. Without ingredients being traceable down to each particular batch and being tested, there is no way to ensure this.

Some ingredients that can be found in supplements are also standardised, such as Ashwagandha. KSM-66 Ashwagandha is standardised to 5% withanolides, which means that the minimum level of each batch will be no lower than 5%, though it could be even 7-10%. Being able to trace the Ashwagandha means that no batch of supplements will fall below these criteria and therefore, you know that you will experience the full and expected benefits.

Quality & Safety

In terms of quality, it is important that the label matches what is truly in the bottle. For example, if you read that a supplement contains 275mg of zinc per serving, then that is what you should receive. By documenting and tracing products, companies can be certain that if a particular batch falls below these levels, this can be corrected, and the error is not passed on to you. This traceability also means that the root cause can be found, for example, a variation in soil quality that affects the efficacy of vitamin B complex in guava, lemon, and basil.

Safety is also of the utmost importance. Testing for unwanted traces like heavy metals, such as lead and mercury found in fish, must also be done to ensure that no harm will come to consumers. Each batch is subject to individual testing, which increases the safety to those who take the supplements, but also saves a company time and money on recalling or disposing of batches that do not meet requirements.

Our philosophy

Here at Authentic Biotics, we advocate for full traceability for the safety and satisfaction of our customers, right from the fields where our fruits and herbs are grown, to the Irish sea where our magnesium is harvested, all the way to your hands when you pick up a couple of our capsules for your daily brain or immune boosting supplement.

Read more about our SimplyGREEN Organic Immunity Goals and our SimplyGREEN Pro Brain Health Goals now.