Starwest Botanicals Most Important Quality Assurance Tests

Starwest Botanicals, Inc. meticulously tests all raw materials we receive. Our quality assurance testing continues throughout the entire production process. A battery of tests and procedures are used to ensure the quality of the raw materials we use and the finished products we sell. The following list represents a few of the most important tests we conduct:

Botanical Identification


1. Macroscopic: Evaluation of a sampled product based upon inspection of the products visual characteristics - texture, size, etc.

2. Microscopic: Evaluation of a sampled product based upon visual inspection, with the aid of a high powered microscope, of cells, cell walls, cell structure and characteristics, etc.

3. HPTLC: Stands for High Performance Thin Layer Chromatograph. This is an essential tool to accurately determine product identity and purity. By quantifying or comparing the distribution patterns of marker compounds in different solvent systems (unique to each plant and class of actives) against our proprietary Botanical Reference library, our laboratory personnel can verify product identity and identify known adulterates.

4. HPLC: Stands for High Pressure (Performance) Liquid Chromatography. This test provides verification of product identity as well as quantitative determination of active constituents when tested against a reference standard.

5. GC: Stands for Gas Chromatography. This test provides verification of product identity as well as quantitative determination of active constituents when tested against a reference standard.

Organoleptic


1. Appearance: Samples of each product are evaluated based upon their general appearance and uniformity and are compared, to ensure conformance, to a known standard.

2. Color: Used to identify products based upon conformance, of color, to a known standard.

3. Aroma: Used to identify products based upon conformance, of aroma, to a known standard.

4. Flavor: Used to identify products based upon conformance, of flavor, to a known standard.

Physical Analyses


1. Particle Size: A sieve analysis is used to measure the total particle size distribution of a prepared sample. Whether the product is in the form of a powder, cut and sifted, or tea bag cut, particle size analysis can help a customer judge whether a product is suitable for their application.

2. Foreign Organic Matter: Measures the amount of a prepared sample that is of a foreign organic nature. This is a measurement of the purity of the product and, thus, the quality of the product.

3. Foreign Inorganic Matter: Measures the amount of a prepared sample that is of a foreign inorganic nature. This is a measurement of the purity of the product and, thus, the quality of the product.

4. Tapped Density: Measures the density of a prepared sample (g/ml). This test can help one discern packaging or encapsulation requirements.

Chemical Analyses


1. Moisture Content: Measures the amount of volatile matter (water) driven off of a prepared sample under specified conditions. Elevated moisture content can increase the likelihood of microbial growth.

2. Steam Volatile Oil: Measures the amount of water insoluble steam volatile oil present in a prepared sample. In many products, volatile oil is an indication of product quality.

3. Total Ash: Measures the amount of carbon-free ash present in a prepared sample. This test can give an indication of the quality and purity of a product, as all organic material will burn off leaving dirt, silica, etc.

4. Acid Insoluble Ash: This test measures, after total ash, the amount of acid insoluble ash present in a prepared sample. This test gives an indication of the quality and purity of a product.

5. Heavy Metals:
This test measures metallic impurities in a prepared product sample. No product may exceed the tolerances that have been set for each specific metal.

6. Pesticides: This test measures the amount of pesticide residue that a prepared sample contains. No product may exceed the tolerances that have been set for each specific pesticide.

Microbiological


1. Total Aerobic Plate Count: This test allows for the detection and enumeration of aerobic microorganisms. This test gives an indication of the cleanliness of a product microbiologically.

2. Yeast and Mold: This test allows for detection and enumeration of yeast and mold microorganisms. This test gives an indication of the cleanliness of a product microbiologically.

3. Coliform: This test allows for detection and enumeration of Coliform.

4. E. Coli: This test allows for detection and enumeration of E. Coli bacteria.

5. Salmonella SPP.: This test allows for detection and enumeration of Salmonella Bacteria.

Please note that some of the above tests are only performed as needed and not on every item we process. For more information about a particular test or item, please contact us.
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