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Our Core Values
- “Choosing to do what's right even if it's not easy;
- Going the extra mile even if no one knows or cares;
- Trying new ideas even if there's a risk of failure;
- Committing to the greater good even at a personal cost;
- Sharing the missteps even if it means being vulnerable;
- Persevering even in the face of adversity;
- Being transparent even if it's not recognized;
- Telling the truth even if it's not valued;
- Challenging the status quo even if it's not popular;
- Prioritizing people and planet even if it's not profitable;
- Standing up for what’s right even if it means standing alone.”
Founder & CEO
Powered by integrity, our mission is to help create a healthier and more sustainable future by making nourishing products, embracing planet-friendly practices, and empowering consumers through education.
— Jane Goodall
Protecting our planet’s resources by mindfully sourcing non-GMO ingredients, supporting organic farming, and using earth-friendly packaging.
Our Sustainability Commitment: People and Planet First. And always.
The results are in! Thanks to the tireless efforts of activists to raise awareness, environmental ignorance is slowly becoming a thing of the past. Consumers around the world are speaking out for sustainability and consciously supporting companies that make products in ways that respect our planet. Your choices are changing the world one purchase at a time. And as a company that's committed to sustainability, we are grateful for the support.
Sustainable practices are not all alike. For some, sustainability simply means being mindful of the impact that lifestyle choices have on the planet. To others, sustainability involves rallying against pollutive practices that threaten to destroy the natural world we call home. Regardless of what sustainability means to each of us or how we practice it in everyday life, one thing that we can all agree on is that taking any action, no matter how small, is better than doing nothing at all.
At NutriGold, we think of sustainability as the "synergistic and interdependent relationship between people and planet." The natural world nourishes and sustains human life and we, in turn, have an obligation to protect and preserve it for future
generations. We don't believe it is ethical to prioritize profits over people or planet and are as mindful of the impact that our decisions have on human health as we are of their impact on sustainability and ecological biodiversity.
We demonstrate our commitment to sustainability by sourcing non-GM ingredients, championing organic farming, supporting locally-sourced ingredients, and using environmentally responsible, biodegradable packaging Our non-GMO and organic ingredients nourish your health and the health of our soil; our locally-sourced fish oils greatly reduce environmental impact and promote biodiversity; our renewable, biodegradable, tree-free boxes protect against deforestation; and our fair-trade ingredients empower underprivileged communities around the world.
And our efforts to save the planet don't stop there. In addition to making sure our footprint is as small as possible, we work with organizations committed to the preservation of our ecological resources. Our industry partners include the Forest Stewardship Council, EarthPact, the Marine Stewardship Council, Friend-of-the-Sea, USDA, and our friends at the Non-GMO Project. We contribute a part of the proceeds from every purchase to address some of the most pressing environmental challenges of our times.
We are on a mission to create nourishing products, educate conscious consumer communities, and adopt sustainable business practices for a healthier world. But, our idealism and ambition is tempered by the knowledge that we can't do it alone. We need you. We need eco-minded consumers like you to support companies like ours that are committed to fighting the good fight. Your support will bring us one step closer to our vision of a healthier and more sustainable world.
- Going Organic: Small Changes, Big Difference -
ONE organic product
out of every 10 items purchased would
2.9 billion barrels of imported oil each year
98 million servings of water are free of toxic pesticides each day
20 million servings of milk are produced without antibiotics each day
25,800 square miles of degraded soils into highly productive crop land
Increasing awareness among consumers about the damaging effects of pesticides on human health is fueling demand for organic products. According to The Rodale Institute, pesticide residues—some of them cancer-causing, are found on approximately 38% of conventional produce. Of course, this doesn't mean the remaining 62% don't have any residues, it just means that they are present in non-detectable amounts.
Skeptics of the organic movement could successfully argue that pesticide residues, when they are present, can easily be washed off with water, which doesn't cost anything. So, why pay more for organic when the solution to avoid pesticides is, well, free? Fair point, but the problem is, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that pesticides contaminate groundwater in about 38 states. This basically means that the water needed to wash off the pesticide residues may actually be contaminated by the pesticides that were used on the produce to begin with. Not quite the win-win solution, is it?
Even if there is little consensus on whether or not it pays to go organic just to avoid exposure to residual pesticides, there is no denying the postive impact of organic purchases on the planet. Organic agriculture increases biodiversity, restores soil quality, mitigates climate change, conserves water, enriches the lives and livelihoods of farmers, and improves consumer health. And for these reasons, organic farming may actually be, contrary to popular opinion, an equitable solution in the long run to the challenges of food security and sustainability.
Of course, none of organic's amazing benefits can make up for the fact that organic products cost more. The same price premiums that benefit organic farmers and help improve their livelihoods make organic products inaccessible to most consumers. But, rather than considering the higher price of organic as a cost of doing business like many do, we choose to think of it as an investment—in your health and in the future of our planet.
At NutriGold, we have always believed in the power of organic products to nourish human health and save the planet. But, we mistakenly assumed when we first started that going organic had to be an all-or-nothing proposition—that if we couldn't do it all, we shouldn't do it at all. However, as time went by and we grew in knowledge and experience, we realized that, when it comes to saving the world, even small changes can make a difference. A BIG difference.
So, we started by making one small change—replacing one conventional [non-organic] ingredient in our products with an organic alternative. One small change led to another and then another, and the rest, as they say, is history. We have come a long way since those early days—55% of our products now have at least one organic ingredient, and 58% of those products are USDA certified to contain > 95% organic ingredients.
We are uncompromising in our commitment to making affordable, organic products. And we will continue to stay true to that commitment by doing what we've always done—finding efficiencies in our processes and operations to offset the higher costs of organic ingredients, and passing on the savings to you, our valued consumers. After all, what would be the point of making healthy, sustainable products that no one can afford? To quote Maria Rodale, CEO and Chairman of the Rodale Institute, “when we demand organic, we are demanding poison-free food. We are demanding clean air. We are demanding pure, fresh water. We are demanding soil that is free to do its job and seeds that are free of toxins. We must make organic the conventional choice and not the exception available only to the rich and educated.”
Our efforts to go organic may not be enough to save the world [yet], but we are making progress every day, with every choice, and with every decision. And each step, no matter how small, brings us that much closer to our vision of a healthier, more sustainable world.
Non-GMO: Advocating for a Healthier Future
According to the Institute for Responsible Technology, GMOs, short for genetically modified organisms, are created when “genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal” so they can withstand direct applications of chemical pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides. GMOs are generally considered unsafe and most developed countries, with the exception of the U.S., either have stringent laws or outright bans limiting their production and use in foods. GMOs are approved for use in the U.S. by the Food and Drug Administration, a decision that appears to be based on economic rather than ecological reasons.
Big corporations spend millions of dollars each year trying to sell Congress and consumers on the benefits of advanced agricultural practices that include farming of genetically modified seeds and crops. They argue, somewhat successfully, that genetically modified seeds are resistant to synthetic pesticides and herbicides, which can boost yields by limiting losses due to diseases, weeds, and rodents. Between higher yields and federal subsidies to offset costs, GM farming can not only support agricultural economies and the people who depend on them but also provide a solution to the challenges of world hunger and food security. But, what about the potential dangers of consuming GMOs?
Well, supporters of GM agriculture have a compelling response to that too. Just ask Mark Lynan, a GMO critic-turned-believer, who said, “We no longer need to discuss whether or not it [GMOs] is safe—over a decade and a half with three trillion GM meals eaten, there has never been a single substantiated case of harm. You are more likely to get hit by an asteroid than to get hurt by GM food.” We agree that those are pretty small odds, but the problem is, the arguments in support of GM farming only tell one side of the story.
What GMO supporters conveniently ignore is that over 2.5 million metric tons (5.6 billion pounds) of herbicides and pesticides are used each year, and a majority of this is a direct result of GMOs. These manmade toxins seep into the soil and destroy the fragile ecosystem of living organisms that support nutrient cycling, water conservation, and plant health. This isn’t just tragic, it can be downright dangerous. Our ecosystems depend on these living organisms and compromising their survival can upset the delicate balance of nature—something we may not be able to fix in our lifetimes.
The problem, however, goes beyond the use of pesticides and herbicides; GMO crops designed to resist them pose a similar threat. Scientists at Harvard University suggest that GMOs cross-pollinate with other plant species, passing on their mutated genes. They anticipate that, over time, these genes will give some plants dominance over others, which could result in less biodiversity. And those are just the effects on the environment. What about the effects on human health?
According to the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (2009), several well-designed animal studies confirm the serious health risks associated with GM food consumption including infertility, immune dysregulation, accelerated aging, dysregulation of genes associated with cholesterol synthesis, cell signaling, and changes in the liver, kidney, spleen and GI system.
The evidence showing the negative effects of GMOs on human health may be inconclusive, but that may be because GMOs are not labeled, which makes proving causality very difficult. Efforts to investigate the causal relationship between GMOs and human health are further compromised by the fact that GM seeds are patented, so independent researchers have difficulty accessing them. What does all this mean? It simply means that it would be short-sighted, dangerous even, to equate the lack of “conclusive” evidence of GMO’s negative effects as “no” evidence or, worse, as indirect evidence that GMOs are safe for human consumption.
Regardless of where consumers stand on the science, GMO labeling is in high demand, with over 92% of consumers supporting legislation that would require companies to list genetically modified ingredients on the label. While GMO labeling regulations will likely change with time and legislation, NutriGold’s position on GMOs remains constant: we are committed to doing everything we can to eliminate GMOs from our supply chain.
Our commitment to the non-GMO cause is grounded in our guiding principle to “do no harm.” We work closely with the Non-GMO Project as their official sponsor of Education and Outreach to educate consumers and help them make informed decisions that impact their health, the health of loved ones, and the long-term sustainability of our planet. Fact is, we all have a choice to make—to promote the creation of more GMO products or to support the growth of sustainable food. As consumers, we get to decide what the future is going to look like. And that’s not a responsibility any of us should take lightly. Think about this—if we don’t take care of ourselves and our planet, who will provide for future generations?
- Sourcing Locally: Reducing Environmental Impact -
In the United States, the average American meal travels about 1,500 miles from farm to plate (Hendrickson, 1996). The ingredients used to make a carton of strawberry yogurt—milk, sugar, and strawberries—collectively travel approximately 2,211 miles, and that's just to get to the processing plant (Pirog & Benjamin, 2005). According to the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture, sugarcane that is grown and processed into raw sugar in Hawaii travels 10,000 miles before it is available as convenient sugar packets in a cafe, a mile down the street from the farm where the sugarcane crop was harvested. A prepared meal, on average, contains ingredients imported from at least 5 countries (Natural Resources Defense Council, 2007). These statistics are significant, and relevant, because the distance our food travels before it reaches our plate has a direct impact on our health and the sustainability of our planet.
Most of us are not consciously aware of the incredibly complex global food system that works behind the scenes to keep our supermarkets and grocery stores filled with nature's bounty. We are so conditioned to having uninterrupted access to a dizzying array of fruits and vegetables year-round that we don't always consider where they came from, how far they traveled to get there, or what their nutritional content is at the time of purchase. We marvel at the scientific advances that have made "seedless" fruits possible but don't always question the wisdom in consuming foods that don't occur in nature. We delight in buying produce that is technically not in season but don't give more than a passing thought to the environmental impact of our purchasing decision.
Interestingly, however, despite the lack of conscious awareness about the food system, support for locally and regionally produced food is growing. According to the USDA, sales of locally-produced food increased from $5 billion in 2008 to about $11.7 billion in 2014. And this is good news for both people and planet. Locally-produced foods are more nutritious, fresher, safer, promote biodiversity, support local economies, provide habitats for wildlife, and ensure the sustainability of our natural resources by conserving fertile soil, protecting water resources, and reducing emissions.
At NutriGold, our first preference is to source ingredients as close to home as possible. This practice offers greater control over the supply chain, increases accountability, and helps ensure consistent quality. In fact, many of the ingredients we currently use in our products are sourced in the US including astaxanthin, coQ10, ubiquinol, saw palmetto, red yeast rice, black garlic, sprouted beans, lentils, grains, seeds, and greens. Even the rice concentrate that we use as a replacement for conventional additives like magnesium stearate, stearic acid, and silicon dioxide, is grown and processed right here at home.
However, there are some botanical ingredients that we source from regions outside the US like turmeric, green tea, ginkgo, and St. John’s wort, among others, because we believe that local growing and environmental conditions impact the composition and strength of the bioactive compounds that naturally occur in these botanicals. The tradeoff to this sourcing practice is that it makes our carbon footprint larger than we would like it to be. So, we revisit and revise our practices on an ongoing basis to find efficiencies or alternatives that will allow us to stay true to our ingredient sourcing philosophy while minimizing the environmental impact of our purchasing decisions.
Among the ingredients that we source locally for use in our products, perhaps the one that is the most significant in terms of minimized ecological impact is the fish oil we use in our omega-3 products. The source of the fish oil matters because the greater the distance the oil has to travel before it reaches the shelf, the more devastating its impact on the environment. This is also significant becauseapproximately 8% of the US population takes a fish oil supplement and fish oil was the most popular natural product used by adults in the US in 2012 (Clarke, Black, Stussman, Barnes, & Nahin, 2015).
According to the Global Organization for EPA and DHA (GOED), 80% of all omega-3 supplements sold in the US are made from Peruvian anchoveta, which the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) calls the "most exploited fish in history." The anchoveta fishery is considered a "reduction" fishery, which means the fish aren't used for human food—the entire catch is ground up and cooked. The oil is pressed out of this ground up fish and the deoiled protein is dried up and used as fish meal. The fish meal is used as fodder for livestock and the oil is used to make, among other things, fish oil supplements. And that’s just the beginning. The oil is then transported from Peru to processing facilities in Norway, China, or other countries, and then transported to the US for manufacturing and distribution. The approximate distance traveled from the source to shelf—10,000 miles to 17,000 miles.
By contrast, our fish oil products are made using wild-caught Alaska Pollock found in Alaska's Bering Sea. The Alaska Pollock fishery is the largest commercial fishery in the US and certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). Unlike Peruvian anchoveta, Alaska Pollock are caught exclusively for human consumption and processed on FDA-inspected vessels while still at sea. The oil is transported from Alaska to Ohio for purification and concentration. The approximate distance from the source to shelf—3,900 miles.
Healthy oceans and sustainable foods are essential for our survival. It is more important than ever for us to understand the impact of our choices on our own well-being and the well-being of our planet. As informed consumers, we can all contribute to the restoration and preservation of our resources by finding out where the ingredients in supplements come from and supporting companies that embrace sustainable sourcing practices. For our part, we will continue to mindfully source locally-produced ingredients when possible, manufacture all of our products in the USA, and support the efforts of independent organizations like the Marine Stewardship Council, which are committed to the protection of environmental resources and the long-term sustainability of our planet.
Earth-friendly Materials: Packaging for a Cleaner Planet
Forests are essential for our survival. Period. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, forests cover ⅓ of the total land area, provide habitats for animals, are home to 300 million indigenous people, support the livelihoods of about 1.6 billion people, prevent soil erosion, mitigate climate change, and promote biodiversity. And yet, despite our incredible dependence on forests, we are still letting them disappear.
The US accounts for 5% of the world population, but consumes up to 30% of the world’s paper. Each person in the US uses, on average, approximately the equivalent of seven trees per year in various paper products. That's a total of 2,232,300,000 trees annually for the entire U.S. population. In case you missed it, that’s two billion two hundred and thirty two million three hundred thousand trees that are cut down each year to meet the demand for paper products. The environmental impact of this scale of deforestation may not be reversible in our lifetimes, and may severely compromise the planet’s ability to sustain future generations.
To be fair, not all of the trees are cut down to make paper, and there is little consensus on exactly what percentage of the deforestation is attributable to the paper industry. According to the World Resources Institute (WRI), agricultural commodities and encroaching urban development are the major causes of deforestation.
However, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) argues that the paper industry is a bigger contributing factor because 40% of the annual industrial wood harvest is processed to make paper and paperboard. Regardless of the reasons, the heart of the matter is that the current rate of deforestation is athreat to the continued sustainability of the planet’s forests.
Awareness of paper and paper products is high because most of us grapple with decisions related to their use and disposal on a daily basis. Thanks to efforts of nonprofit organizations committed to forest conservation, 67% of the paper consumed in the US was recovered for recycling in 2015. This, along with widespread tree planting, has helped slow down the rate of deforestation, but it may not be enough to undo the damage that has already been caused. More needs to be done. And soon.
At NutriGold, we are as mindful about the sustainability of our packaging materials as we are about the ingredients we use in the products we make to nourish health and promote wellness. We do our part for forest conservation by using only certified sustainable paper for printing, avoiding paper plates and cups at the company, using electronic recordkeeping to reduce usage, and recycling, reusing, and repurposing all of our packaging materials to minimize waste. Even the cartons we use to package our products are made from tree-free, agricultural waste, and are renewable, recyclable, biodegradable, and compostable. We can honestly say, "no trees are harmed in the making of our carton boxes."
We also partner with the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), which is responsible for setting the standards for responsible management of forest resources. The SFI ensures the protection of biological diversity, customary rights of indigenous people, water resources, soils, and unique and fragile ecosystems and landscapes, and the maintenance of the integrity of the forest. Together, we can ensure that our choices don’t contribute to the degradation or deforestation of our natural forests. With proper management, we can ensure that our access to paper, the currency of human growth and development, continues uninterrupted for generations to come.
Our commitment to the conservation of our natural resources and the long-term sustainability of our planet is reflected in our use of tree-free cartons to package our products. Tree-free packaging means ZERO deforestation. The paper used to make our product carton boxes is made from "bagasse," which is agricultural waste fiber left over from sugarcane harvesting. Sugarcane waste fibers are not only sustainable, recyclable, compostable, and biodegradable, they are also rapidly renewable fibers and can be harvested every 12 to 14 months, unlike wood pulp from trees that can take decades to regenerate.
Benefits of using tree-free paper include:
- ZERO Deforestation
- Rapidly renewable resource
- Conserves natural forest
- Promotes biodiversity
- Lower CO2 emissions
- Chemical-free. Chlorine-free. Dye-free
The war of the containers, plastic vs. glass, shows no signs of ending anytime soon. Sure, plastic is cheaper, more convenient, and easier to handle. But, glass is more robust, safer, and sustainable. And at NutriGold, where “do no harm” reigns supreme as a fundamental guiding principle, glass eventually edged out plastic as the packaging of choice. We made the transition from plastic to glass in the summer of 2016, nearly six years since our company’s launch. Do we regret that it took us as long as it did to make the switch? Of course. But, are we grateful that we got here when we did? Absolutely.
People’s reasons for preferring plastic over glass, or vice versa, can and do vary, so although we cannot speak on behalf of glass enthusiasts everywhere, we would like to share our reasons for making the transition to glass bottles. According to the Glass Packaging Institute (GPI)—
- glass bottles are 40 percent lighter today than they were 20 years ago, which means it takes less fuel and fewer emissions to transport them
- glass bottles can be recycled endlessly into other glass bottles
- recycled glass can be substituted for up to 95% of raw materials used to make glass
- glass bottles can be consumer-ready as another glass bottle in approximately 30 days
- for every six tons of recycled glass used, the carbon dioxide emissions drop a ton
- when glass manufacturers do have to start from scratch, the raw materials are readily available in the US
- glass doesn't have the estrogen-mimicking chemical bisphenol A
- glass does not leach chemicals into its contents when exposed to high temperatures
- adding recycled glass to the mix helps reduce emissions, extends the life of plant equipment and saves energy
Aqueous Coating & Vegetable Inks
Our product labels are printed on certified sustainable paper and finished with an aqueous coating to protect them from moisture, scuffing, and scratching. Aqueous coating is water-based, fast-drying, and provides a clear coating. Although aqueous coating can be expensive, its versatility and robust performance make it a better choice than conventional varnish. Aqueous coating is also more environmentally friendly and does not produce any emissions during applications. Just as with the paper and the coating, we also take care to ensure that the inks used for printing our labels are earth-friendly and sustainable. Unlike petroleum-based inks that are associated with negative effects on both human health and the environment, the soy-based or vegetable-based inks we use are made from renewable, eco-friendly sources.
Petroleum-based inks are generally refined from crude oil, which is a finite resource, and the incredibly high energy required for the extraction and refining of crude oil compounds their environmental impact. When the petroleum evaporates during the ink drying process, it emits volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can contribute to ozone pollution. Inhalation of VOC can cause or aggravate respiratory problems, effects that are more pronounced for those who work with the inks over extended periods of time.
Soy-based inks are environmentally-friendly, producing significantly lower emissions than VOCs when they dry. Eco-friendly inks make recycling easier because they are easier to remove during the de-inking step of the recycling process. Eco-friendly inks do cost more, but the benefits to human health and the environment in the long run more than make up for the relatively higher costs of using them in place of conventional inks.
Aqueous Coating & Vegetable Inks
Our product labels are printed on certified sustainable paper and finished with an aqueous coating to protect them from moisture, scuffing, and scratching. Aqueous coating is water-based, fast-drying, and provides a clear coating.
Petroleum-based inks are generally refined from crude oil, which is a finite resource, and the incredibly high energy required for the extraction and refining of crude oil compounds their environmental impact.
Although aqueous coating can be expensive, its versatility and robust performance make it a better choice than conventional varnish. Aqueous coating is also more environmentally friendly and does not produce any emissions during applications.
Just as with the paper and the coating, we also take care to ensure that the inks used for printing our labels are earth-friendly and sustainable. Unlike petroleum-based inks that are associated with negative effects on both human health and the environment, the soy-based or vegetable-based inks we use are made from renewable, eco-friendly sources.
When the petroleum evaporates during the ink drying process, it emits volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can contribute to ozone pollution. Inhalation of VOC can cause or aggravate respiratory problems, effects that are more pronounced for those who work with the inks over extended periods of time.
Soy-based inks are environmentally-friendly, producing significantly lower emissions than VOCs when they dry. Eco-friendly inks make recycling easier because they are easier to remove during the de-inking step of the recycling process. Eco-friendly inks do cost more, but the benefits to human health and the environment in the long run more than make up for the relatively higher costs of using them in place of conventional inks.
Partnering for a More Sustainable World
Sustainability is defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” The natural world nourishes and sustains human life and we, in turn, have an obligation to protect and preserve it for future generations. We don't believe it is ethical to prioritize profits over people or planet and are as mindful of the impact that our decisions have on human health as we are of their impact on sustainability and ecological biodiversity.
We demonstrate our commitment to sustainability by sourcing non-GM ingredients, supporting organic farming, choosing local seafood, and using environmentally responsible, biodegradable packaging Our non-GMO and organic ingredients nourish your health and the health of our
soil; our locally-sourced fish oils greatly reduce environmental impact and promote biodiversity; our renewable, biodegradable, tree-free boxes protect against deforestation; and our fair-trade ingredients empower underprivileged communities around the world.
And our efforts to save the planet don't stop there. In addition to making sure our footprint is as small as possible, we work with organizations committed to the preservation of our ecological resources. Our industry partners include the Forest Stewardship Council, EarthPact, the Marine Stewardship Council, Friend-of-the-Sea, USDA, and our friends at the Non-GMO Project. We invite you to learn more about our industry partners and join us as we work to address some of the most pressing environmental challenges of our times.
According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), forests are essential for our survival. Forests provide habitats for animals and livelihoods for humans, prevent soil erosion, mitigate climate change, and promote biodiversity. And yet, despite our incredible dependence on forests, we are still allowing them to disappear.
In the U.S. alone, each person uses, on average, approximately seven trees per year in various paper products. That's a total of 2,232,300,000 trees annually for the entire U.S. population. Thankfully, a growing majority of Americans are speaking up against deforestation and consciously supporting companies and products that are packaged using earth-friendly, deforestation-free materials.
At NutriGold, we do our part to conserve forests by using tree-free cartons made from agricultural waste to package our products. Our carton boxes are biodegradable, renewable, recyclable, and compostable. We can honestly say, "no trees are harmed in the making of our carton boxes." We use only certified sustainable paper for printing, avoid paper plates and cups, use electronic recordkeeping to reduce paper usage, and recycle and repurpose all of our packaging materials to minimize waste.
We also partner with EarthPact and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), which is responsible for setting the standards for responsible forestry. The SFI ensures the protection of biological diversity, customary rights of indigenous people, water resources, soils, and unique and fragile ecosystems and landscapes, and the maintenance of the integrity of the forest. To learn more about SFI's mission, vision, goals, and activities, please visit www.sfiprogram.org.
Marine Wildlife Conservation
Oceans are our largest ecosystems and cover more than 70% of our planet. They sustain all life on Earth, generating half of the oxygen we breathe, absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and reducing the impact of climate change. They positively impact human health and nutrition, support economic development, and are a food source for a majority of the world's population.
However, our oceans are neither limitless nor immune to enviromental and man-made threats. Our oceans are under increasing pressure from a growing global population, mechanization, and new technologies. The result—fisheries are being fished to their commercial limits and unsustainable practices are harming marine habitats and fishing economies. In fact, according to Barton Seaver, renowned chef and seafood expert, a shocking “70% are exploited, overexploited, or have already suffered a collapse.”
Healthy oceans and sustainable seafood are essential to our survival. It is becoming more important than ever for us to understand the impact of our seafood choices on our own well-being and the well-being of our oceans. As an informed consumer, you can contribute to the restoration of our marine resources by finding out where the fish comes from and by supporting sustainable fisheries.
At NutriGold, we understand that a flailing ocean ecosystem puts the health of the entire planet at risk. This is why we responsibly source the seafood for our fish oil omega-3 products from certified sustainable fisheries. Even better, our fish oil products are sourced, processed, and manufactured right here in the USA, which greatly reduces their environmental impact as well. The shortest distance from source-to-shelf? You bet!
We also partner with independent organizations like the Marine Stewardship Council and Friend-of-the-Sea, which set the standards for responsible fishing practices. These standards include staying within established fishing limits, curbing bycatch, and minimizing destructive fishing practices. To learn more about the mission and goals of these organizations and about what you can do to support the continued health of our marine ecosystem, please visit www.msc.org and www.friendofthesea.org.
Soil and Water Conservation
Healthy soils support a healthy ecosystem. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (2008), soil health is the capacity of soil to function as a living system, maintain or enhance water and air quality, and promote plant, animal, and human health. In fact, healthy soils nurture and sustain a diverse community of living organisms. These organisms develop synergistic and symbiotic relationships with plant roots, help recycle essential plant nutrients, improve soil structure, enhance water retention, and defend plants from diseases and predators (e.g. weeds, insects, and pests).
Unfortunately, the sustainability of this life-giving ecosystem has been compromised by modern farming practices, which emphasize efficiency and productivity at the expense of soil health and ecological balance. The result is an impaired ecosystem that can no longer maintain a healthy natural state without human intervention. Practices like over-tilling, monocropping, and indiscriminate use of synthetic herbicides and pesticides, have compromised the soil's ability to sustain and regenerate itself. The result—rapid growth of the GMO industry, soil contamination, soil erosion, water contamination, water wastage, declining food quality, and an undernourished population with an increased risk of morbidity.
At NutriGold, we recognize that a healthy soil ecosystem is essential for the long-term sustainability of plant, animal, and human life. This is one of many reasons why we mindfully choose only organic and non-GMO ingredients for use in our products. We proudly support the communities of farmers who use organic and non-GMO agricultural practices to nourish human health and maintain ecological balance through soil conservation, water conservation, and increased biodiversity.
Our industry partners include the USDA, which sets the standards for organic certification and labeling, and the Non-GMO Project, North America's largest, independent non-GMO verification program. To be eligible for the USDA organic certified seal, manufacturers must demonstrate that they are protecting natural resources, conserving biodiversity, and using only approved substances. The Non-GMO Project Verified seal provides assurance that products are manufactured in accordance with best practices for GMO avoidance. To learn more, visit www.usda.org and www.nongmoproject.org.
Our Quality Commitment: Caring For Your Families and Ours
According to the International Standards Organization, quality can be thought of as the sum of all the attributes of a product [or service] that allow it to meet the expectations and needs of the people who will be using it. Problem is, people’s perceptions of quality are as varied as their expectations and needs, and what one individual or group considers to be of “quality” may be rejected as subpar by another. This makes identifying relevant “quality” attributes and establishing the standards against which those attributes will be measured extremely challenging.
Within the nutraceutical industry, the FDA is responsible for ensuring that products satisfy quality requirements before they are authorized for distribution. It fulfills this responsibility by establishing, reviewing, and revising guidelines for Good Manufacturing Practices or GMPs and holding companies accountable for product quality. Although the intent and spirit of the GMP guidelines are well recognized, what most consumers don’t know is that the guidelines specify only the “bare” minimum standards that products must meet before they can be authorized for distribution. And, more often than not, these “bare” minimum standards do not satisfy consumers’ “quality” expectations.
Although having inadequate standards is better than having none at all, the existence of those standards does not automatically guarantee that companies will actually adhere to the prescribed standards. The vague and highly subjective language used to describe the standards gives companies the flexibility to implement whatever methods and processes they deem appropriate to ensure compliance with the stated standards. Consequently, companies not only differ in their interpretation of the guidelines, but also in terms of “how” they comply with them. The implications for consumers? Unreliable and inconsistent product quality across the board.
Bottom line, the current guidelines are problematic because the bar for entry into the industry is low and most companies are content to do just the “bare” minimum, and sometimes not even that, to stay under the FDA’s radar. This has the potential to significantly increase risk of harm to innocent consumers who are either too trusting, too overwhelmed, or not savvy enough to ask the right questions or perform the due diligence required to make purchasing decisions that are safe for them and their loved ones.
At NutriGold, we understand and respect consumers’ right to products that are pure, safe, and authentic, which is why we developed our quality standards with consumers in mind. Quality, to us, is as much as what we choose to include in our products as it is about what we mindfully keep out of them. It is about voluntarily adhering to standards that exceed current GMPs and working with purpose, passion, and integrity to ensure customers’ expectations are reliably met. It is about ensuring that our products are good enough to give to our families because that’s the only way we can justify giving them to yours.
Every choice we make at the company reflects our unwavering and uncompromising commitment to prioritizing the needs of consumers who entrust their own health or the health of a loved one when they purchase our products.
Our Quality Standards
Not all dietary supplements are created equal. Supplements vary considerably across multiple attributes including source and composition of active ingredients, choice of excipients (or additives), potency, serving size, bottle counts, packaging, the claims used to describe/market them, and price. Perhaps the greatest contributing factor to consumer confusion and frustration is the absence of consistent, clear, and reliable quality standards against which to evaluate products by different brands. The result? Consumers are frequently misled into purchasing ineffective, potentially unsafe, product, which ultimately leads to an erosion of trust in the usefulness of dietary supplements to support health and wellness.
Broadly speaking, the FDA’s current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) specify the bare minimum standards that companies must meet to ensure that products authorized for distribution are safe for the general public. More specifically, cGMPs required brands to have written specifications and processes against which products can be evaluated for identity, purity, strength, and composition.
The problem with the GMP standards as they are currently worded is the lack of clarity with regard to their definition, scope, and measurability. And this means companies have considerable flexibility in determining the extent to which they will comply with the standards, interpreting the standards at their discretion, establishing whatever specifications, processes, and methods they deem appropriate, and, in extreme cases, doing just enough to stay under under the FDA’s radar.
At NutriGold, we consider ensuring that our products consistently and reliably meet consumers’ needs and expectations our fundamental professional and ethical obligation to them. We accomplish this by establishing “quality” specifications for our products based on the spirit and intent, and not just the language, of the FDA’s current GMPs.
We consciously choose pure, safe, and proven ingredients for use in our formulations; reject the use of synthetic additives and preservatives; and manuafcture our products to standards that exceed current Good Manufacturing Practices. It is all part of our commitment to ensuring that our products are good enough to give to our families because that’s the only way we can justify giving them to yours.
Vitamins are organic compounds that are essential in very small amounts for supporting normal physiologic and metabolic functions. They are “essential” because the body cannot synthesize them and, therefore, must be consumed either from diet or through supplementation. Although there is little clarity or consensus within the industry on what “natural” means or what its scope is within the context of dietary supplements, most consumers consider nutrients sourced from foods as “natural” and anything that is created in a lab to be “synthetic.”
From a purely chemical standpoint, natural and synthetic nutrients are basically the same: their molecules contain exactly the same numbers and kinds of atoms. However, they differ in terms of their molecular structure and configuration—elements in synthetic nutrients are arranged in a different way than they are in natural nutrients. More specifically, synthetic nutrients are mirror-image duplicates of natural nutrients.
Many companies, consumers, and even the FDA believe that the structural differences between synthetic and natural nutrients are non-significant and inconsequential, but there are reasons, both from clinical and common sense perspectives, to believe that the body can tell the difference. For example, natural vitamin E is not only three times more absorbable than its synthetic counterpart [Prasad 1994], it may contain co-factors, enzymes and other bioactive compounds that work synergistically to provide intended benefits.
But not all “natural” vitamins from “food” are created equal. And one reason for this inequality is that "food" is used indiscriminately and without reasonable justification by dietary supplement companies in combination with other words (e.g. real food, raw food, food state, food grown, food based) to create the illusion that a product is completely natural. In fact, many multivitamin products that are marketed as “food-based” are actually made by adding isolated synthetic vitamins to base of “food” that may include a combination of fruit, vegetable, and/or superfood powders.
These food powders do not alter the structure of the synthetic vitamins themselves, do little, if anything, to increase their bioavailability or absorption, and do not have the power to “trick” the body into thinking that the vitamins are natural.
There are also multivitamin products marketed as raw code, food state, code factors, or whole-food, which are actually fermented vitamins manufactured by "feeding" synthetic vitamins and inorganic minerals to nutritional yeast. Manufacturers of fermented vitamins claim that they use proprietary or “special” processes that allow the chemical vitamins to get incorporated into the yeast during the fermentation process, and this is in a “whole food” form that the body readily recognizes and assimilates efficiently, a claim that critics reject as pure marketing hype.
Unlike synthetic, food-based, and fermented vitamins, “true” whole food vitamins are are not made from or fortified with synthetic vitamins at any point during the manufacturing process like synthetic or fermented vitamins. The essential nutrients are concentrated from foods using processes that preserve the original structure and configuration of the nutrients as they occur in nature. They include naturally-occurring cofactors that enhance their bioavailability and bioactivity inside the body and include other nutrients that may beabsent in chemically-pure vitamins.
Our Industry Partners in Quality
7-Keto® is a patented metabolite of DHEA acetate and has been extensively studied at the preclinical and clinical levels, with four of those studies being published in peer-reviewed journals suggesting benefits of weight management and increased metabolic rate. When taken in conjunction with a sensible diet and a moderate exercise program, 7-Keto® can help individuals lose 3x more weight than what they would with diet and exercise alone.
AstaReal® is the most clinically studied brand of natural astaxanthin and is backed by over fourteen international patents. AstaReal astaxanthin extracted from Haematococcus pluvialis microalgae in extremely pristine conditions in the US. It has clinically proven broad-spectrum applications in the areas of muscle endurance, eye fatigue, and gastric health.
NKO® is the flagship krill oil of Neptune Biosciences, the global leader in the development, production, and research of krill oil. NKO krill oil is extracted from a certified sustainable source using a patented, cold-vacuum process that ensures high quality oil superior to fish oil and other krill oils. In fact, NKO’s phospholipid-bound omega-3s are 2.5 times more bioavailable than fish oil and easier to digest with no reflux or aftertaste.
Curcumin C3 Complex® is an award-winning extract of Curcuma longa root standardized to 95% total curcuminoids and the three individual curcuminoids in a patented ratio shown in clinical studies to deliver therapeutic benefits. Curcumin C3 Complex is NSF® certified to meet potency specifications, which means you can be sure that you are getting the same extract that is used in clinical investigations.
KSM-66® is an award-winning, patented, clinically-proven, full-spectrum, and certified organic extract of Withania somniferastandardized to > 5% withanolides from roots alone. KSM-66® boasts an exceptional purity profile with less than 0.1% of withaferin A, a cytotoxin that occurs naturally in the plant, and its safety and effectiveness are backed by clinical studies.
Super CitriMax® is a patented, clinically proven, non-stimulant, water extract of Garcinia cambogia standardized to 60% HCA and chelatedto potassium and calcium salts for enhanced bioavailability. Super CitriMax® is the only HCA ingredient with an approved fat burning claim and is clinically proven to decrease appetite, reduce caloric intake, burn fat, and reduce body fat 3x more than diet and exercise alone.
Slendesta® is a clinically proven extract derived from US-grown, white potatoes standardized to a protein found under the skin of the potato called proteinase inhibitor II (PI2). PI2 works by enhancing the body’s release of cholecystokinin (CCK), a natural factor in the body that signals the brain and helps create feelings of fullness and satisfaction. The safety and effectiveness of Slendesta® in managing satiety, supporting weight loss, and reducing waist and hip measurements is supported by 11 clinical studies.freshness.
Kaneka Ubiquinol™ is the world’s first and only ubiquinol available as a nutritional ingredient. Derived from Kaneka Q10®, the only all natural yeast-fermented and bioidentical CoQ10 available today, Kaneka Ubiquinol™ is more bioavailable than conventional CoQ10; this means that optimal levels of CoQ10 can be restored quickly and efficiently. A strong lipid-soluble antioxidant, Kaneka Ubiquinol™ protects the body’s cells from oxidative damage and plays an essential role in cellular energy production.
BIO-tract by Nutraceutix® is a multi-patented delivery technology designed to protect probiotic supplements from degrading prematurely in stomach acids and facilitating targeted, sustained release of live organisms throughout the digestive Probiotic supplements formulated using BIO-tract® delivery also benefit from LiveBac® processes that guarantee shelf-stability of the beneficial bacteria at room temperature.
Vitashine® is a 100% vegan-friendly vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) from lichens that are analyzed to validate the presence of vitamin D3. Following this, the vitamin D3 rich oil is extracted in a totally light, heat, and moisture controlled environment to ensure optimal Because safety is primary, lichens are carefully selected from among those that have been used in foods for centuries. Vitashine ensures optimum purity and stability of the D3 by testing every batch of oil.
Kaneka Q10®, the only CoQ10 manufactured in the US, is the world’s purest, most thoroughly researched CoQ10 ingredient available Unlike many CoQ10 ingredients that are processed from bacteria or tobacco leaves, Kaneka Q10® is fermented from pure, natural yeast and does not contain the impurities that synthetically processed CoQ10 does. Kaneka Q10® is bioidentical to the CoQ10 produced by the body and helps support cellular energy, stamina, endurance, and overall wellness.
Our Accountability Commitment: Removing Doubt and Fostering Trust
Accountability can be broadly defined as “an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.” But, who exactly is it that we are accountable to? Ourselves? Others? If we are accountable to others, does it matter whether or not they have a commercial bias and stand to profit from our actions? And what about its value and impact? Does it matter whether the act of accountability is voluntary or required as a matter of policy or law? Although answers to these questions are a matter of opinion, we can all agree that accounting to others, especially when there is no requirement to do so, can help remove doubt and foster trust in a way that self-accountability simply cannot.
Within the nutraceutical industry, the majority of supplement companies have been operating for decades without feeling the need to account to anyone, including the FDA and FTC, for the quality of their products. While the FDA can take action against products and hold companies that make them accountable if they pose a threat to public harm, they do not routinely audit companies or test products to ascertain if they meet acceptable quality standards. Contrary to popular opinion, that degree of oversight is outside the scope of the FDA’s authority over the nutraceutical industry.
The FTC, on the other hand, does have the power to hold companies accountable and frequently does so, but only for potentially misleading claims about product features and benefits.
The quality of the products themselves is less relevant to the FTC’s goals than redressing consumer grievances about unethical or unlawful marketing practices. As for claims of compliance with good manufacturing practices (GMP) and seals boasting GMP certifications, it is worth noting that GMPs are about ensuring that companies have appropriate and sufficient processes in place to ensure that products meet quality standards, as defined by the FDA, NSF, or other industry watchdogs; they do not require validation of product quality by independent organizations.
In fact, there is currently no requirement within GMPs or any other regulatory guidelines to have products tested by an independent organization without commercial bias to show compliance with objective quality standards. This may be why few brands offer objective evidence that what’s on the label is actually inside the bottle. A GMP seal, at best, provides evidence that a process exists to ensure product quality and, at worst, simply confirms the existence of documents to that effect. It cannot and should not be taken as conclusive proof of a product’s authenticity, purity, or safety.
At NutriGold, we know that consumers make a conscious decision every single day to place their trust is us and the products we make that support their health. We consider this trust an invaluable gift and are committed to handling it with the care and respect it deserves. So, we surround ourselves with people who can hold us accountable for the choices we make and voluntarily work with third-party labs and independent certifying organizations with no commercial bias to validate those choices. It’s all part of our determination to make products that are safe enough to give to our families and yours.
Independent, Third-Party Testing: No Commercial Bias
Although FDA current Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) require brands to demonstrate that products are pure, safe, and meet label claims, they do not require companies to use independent labs to ensure compliance with those requirements. At NutriGold, we prefer to work with independent, third-party labs because they are not affiliated with the ingredient suppliers, manufacturers, or the company whose name appears on the product. This means they have no vested interest in the outcome of the testing and are, therefore, less likely to manipulate or misrepresent test results for self-serving reasons.
In addition to lending objectivity to the testing product and ensuring that finished products meet authenticity, identity, purity, potency, and overall safety specifications, independent labs offer other key advantages that in-house labs do not and cannot.
- Because independent labs are not affiliated with anyone along the supply chain from ingredient supplier to end user, there is no commercial bias, which means consumers can have greater confidence in the results and product claims.
- Independent labs have state-of-the-art facilities and equipment that can perform even the most challenging assays.
- Independent labs are usually certified to meet international testing standards and guidelines, which ensures greater testing precision and less uncertainty about the validity of test results.
- Personnel working in independent labs have specialized training, impressive credentials, and extensive training to develop and validate methods for different product matrices.
- Working with labs that have competencies in specific kinds of testing (e.g. performing micro analysis or HPLC identity testing) perform those tests extremely efficiently at competitive rates; this allows us perform more testing without passing on the burden of the testing costs to consumers.
Our Testing Standards: Going Beyond GMPs
According to current Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), manufacturers are responsible for ensuring that a finished product meets established specifications for identity, purity, strength (potency), and composition, using reliable and valid methods. However, GMPs provide no guidelines for what would be considered acceptable specifications for identity, purity, and potency, what methods would be appropriate to evaluate product compliance with quality specifications, or even how to to evaluate the “reliability” and “validity” of those methods. This provides manufacturers with considerable wiggle room when it comes to raw materials and finished products validation.
Manufacturers of dietary supplements differ in terms of what they test for, how often they test, who performs the testing, and what methods are used to ensure product compliance with label claims. They can choose to test every lot, every other lot, or random lots; they can test for some quality markers or all; they can use established, validated methods or internal methods; and they can test using in-house labs or independent, contract labs.
Neither the FDA nor the NSF or NPA differentiate between companies that perform just the bare minimum testing to demonstrate compliance and companies that perform extensive testing using independent labs with no commercial bias to ensure that products are safe for consumers. So, other than the intrinsic satisfaction of doing what’s in the consumers’ best interests, there is little or no incentive for companies to go above and beyond what is required by GMPS to test and validate products for authenticity, purity, and overall quality. And, for most companies, choosing to do what’s in the consumer’s best interests is a desirable ideal, but not always an achievable one, especially when it comes at the expense of profitability.
At NutriGold, our testing standards were developed to comply not just with the language of the GMPs, but with their spirit and intent as well. According to our testing standards, ingredients and finished products are tested for 140+ tests of identity, purity, strength (potency), and composition, even though GMPs only require a fraction of those to be mandatorily performed. Additionally, as part of our ongoing commitment to product quality and consumer safety, we test finished products every 3 months during the first 12 months following manufacturing and every 6 months thereafter until the best by date printed on the bottle to ensure ongoing compliance with label claims.
In addition to going above and beyond what is currently required by GMPs, the most defining aspect of our standards is that we voluntarily use only independent, third-party labs to perform all of the testing. We consciously and purposefully choose to work with contract labs because they have no vested interest in the test results and, therefore, no commercial bias. Working with third-party labs not only provides us with objective evidence of the quality of our ingredients and finished products, it also allows us to express our commitment to doing what’s in the consumers’ best interests, in the strongest way possible.
Our Purity Promise
Consistent with our guiding principle to “do no harm” and as part of our uncompromising commitment to quality, we work hard to ensure that our products are free of over 100 commonly used additives including, but not limited to artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and synthetic preservatives, fillers, and flow agents. In the interest of transparency and to assist you in making informed purchasing decisions, we have provided below a list of the additives that you will not find in our products. We will continue to update this list as we identify, eliminate, and replace additives we currently use with functional, bioactive alternatives, so please stay tuned!
Commitment to Allergen-Free Products
We all love to eat and enjoy good food. Who doesn’t? But, while we might have a love of good food in common, our bodies don’t always react equally to the foods we eat. While certain foods don’t produce any reaction in some individuals, those same foods can cause abnormal activity in the immune system in others, creating what most call an allergic reaction. An allergic reactions occur when the body’s immune system misinterprets a specific food or protein as a pathogen (or allergen) with the potential to make you sick. The immune system then goes into defense mode, releasing bodily chemicals to fight off the intruders. According to the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), there are up to 15 million Americans with food allergies, including 5.9 million children under the age of 18. About 30 percent of children with food allergies are allergic to more than one food.
An allergen is any substance that is recognized by the immune system and causes an adverse reaction. According to the Food Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA), more than 160 foods have been identified as the cause of food allergies in sensitive individuals. However, only eight foods or food groups have been identified as responsible for the majority of food allergies among Americans and they account for over 90% of all documented food allergies. They are milk, eggs, fish (e.g., bass, flounder, cod), Crustacean shellfish (e.g., crab, lobster, shrimp), tree nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans), peanuts, wheat, and soybeans.
A true food allergy is different from a food intolerance of sensitivity. Food allergies cause a range of symptoms, some of which can be life-threatening, whereas food intolerances or sensitivities generally produces less severe symptoms and most of those symptoms are limited to the digestive system. Reactions to food intolerances occur when the body is unable to properly break down food either due to enzyme deficiencies or sensitivities to additives and chemicals in food. you are unable to properly break down the food.
Unlike food intolerance, which most people can handle and is not generally life-threatening, food allergies can be triggered even through simple contact or inhalation. Symptoms of allergic reactions include hives, itchiness, and skin inflammation to vomiting and diarrhea. The most severe reaction is “anaphylaxis”, which includes breathing distress or even loss of consciousness. Without prompt medical attention, anaphylaxis can even be fatal.
The best way to prevent allergies from flaring up is simply to avoid these common triggers. After all, you cannot have an allergic reaction to an ingredient you didn’t eat, right? Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. As people with food allergies know, it is possible to have an allergic reaction without consuming any of the allergenic ingredients.
There are often many risks hidden in the ingredients, processing aids, and chemicals used in the manufacturing of foods and supplements. And unless special care is taken to avoid high-risk allergenic ingredients in formulations and to prevent cross-contamination with allergens during the production process, almost anything we ingest can be a source of allergic reactions.
Dietary supplements can produce an allergic reaction in sensitive individuals either because they contain ingredients from high-risk allergens like soy or peanuts, or due to cross-contamination with high-allergen ingredients during manufacturing. And although food intolerances and sensitivities are not generally life-threatening, their presence in dietary supplements can produce undesirable side effects.
At NutriGold, we know that consumers expect dietary supplements to be a safe and convenient approach to health management. This expectations of safety demands that manufacturers pay attention to active ingredients and additives, and ensure that products are manufactured in compliance with best practices for avoiding allergens and minimizing cross-contamination risk. It is also important that allergens, if present, are declared accurately and transparently on product labels so consumers can purchase the products that best meet their needs.
Given that approximately 50% of the U.S. population routinely takes a dietary supplement and ingredients derived from allergenic foods are routinely present as an active ingredient or additive in a number of them, we voluntarily perform a six-step allergen verification process to ensure that our products are safe for even the most vulnerable members of our population. This comprehensive verification process allows us to offer customers the cleanest products possible, , regardless of whether they have allergies or not. And as a consumer-centric, quality-conscious company, we are committed to doing everything we can to stay true to our fundamental guiding principle to “do no harm.”
Our Partners in Accountability
Although our quality and testing standards go above and beyond what is currently required by good manufacturing practices, perhaps the most defining aspect of our standards is our decision to voluntarily use only independent, third-party labs to perform all of the testing, and independent certifiers to hold us accountable for the claims we make on our product labels.
We consciously and purposefully choose to work with independent labs and certifiers because they have no vested interest in the outcome, no commercial bias, function as consumer advocates, and are our industry’s gatekeepers. Working with independent labs and certifiers not only provides us with objective evidence of the sustainability and overall quality of our ingredients, finished products, packaging materials, and our processes, it helps assure consumers that what’s on the label is actually in the product and empowers them to make purchasing decisions with confidence. Most importantly, working with independent organizations allows us to express our uncompromising commitment to people and planet in the strongest way possible.
Independent Certifying Organizations
Products that bear the Fair Trade seal contain ingredients that come from farmers and workers around the world who are justly and equitably compensated for the materials and labor. The proceeds from the sales of Fair Trade certified products also help farmers in developing countries build sustainable businesses that positively influence their communities. In fact, the purchase of a Fair Trade Certified product helps to ensure that millions of farmers in 70 developing countries are treated well and paid fairly, and that children stay in school and out of fields and factories.
As North America’s premier and most trusted verification and labeling organization for non-GMO food and products, the Non-GMOProject’s goal is to preserve and build sources of non-GMO products, educate consumers, and provide choices that are verified non-GMO. The Non-GMO Project seal provides assurance to customers that a product has been manufactured using best practices for GMO avoidance.
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is a non-profit, organization that addresses the issue of unsustainable fishing, and helps safeguard seafood supplies for the future. Through their fisheries certification and seafood labeling programs, MSC works with partners to promote sustainable fishing practices and protect marine wildlife in oceans around the world. The MSC’s certification and eco-labelling program allows everybody to play a part in securing a healthy future for our oceans.
The USDA’s National Organic Program certifies products as being organic based on farming, handling, processing, distribution, and labeling practices. To receive certification, products must be grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, free of GMOs, antibiotics, and added growth hormones. Only products that contain > 95% organic content may the USDA organic seal.
Friend of the Sea is a non-profit organization whose mission is the conservation of the marine habitat. It is a leading international certification project for products that originate from both sustainable fisheries and aquaculture. Products and their origins are audited onsite by independent international certification bodies, against strict Friend of the Sea sustainability criteria.
ConsumerLab.com is the leading provider of independent test results and information to help consumers and health care professionals recommend quality health, nutrition, and wellness products. Since its founding in 1999, ConsumerLab.com has tested more than 3,400 products representing over 450 different brands and results of testing are published at www.consumerlab.com.
Veganism is both the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals. Vegan Action is a nonprofit organization that has been offering vegan certification since 1995. To be eligible for certification, products must comply with the principles of “ethical veganism.” This means products cannot contain ingredients derived from animals or animal by-products, must be free of animal-derived GMOs or genes, and should not be the subject of ongoing animal testing.
Ko Kosher is an innovative Kashrut service group with a network of Rabbinic supervisors and auditors who provide certification services worldwide. Most consumers consider kosher products to be cleaner, healthier, or better than non-kosher products. The Ko Kosher or equivalent symbol on products is assurance of a brand's unwavering and uncompromising commitment to accountability, quality, and overall safety.
The International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS) Program is the most trusted third-party testing and certification program exclusively for fish oils. Offered by Nutrasource Diagnostics, participation in the program is voluntary and products submited for certification are tested for compliance with stringent Global Organization for EPA and DHA standards for purity, potency, freshness, and overall quality.
Our Transparency Commitment
Transparency is defined as being “honest,” “open,” and “free from pretense or deceit.” For companies, this means providing accessibility to information concerning business practices and creating opportunities to develop and sustain trusting relationships with customers.
There is no doubt that transparency, when used appropriately, can be an effective and ethical relationship-building tool. However, many companies are taking advantage of growing consumer interest in and support for transparency and using it as a public relations exercise to reshape consumer opinion. Within the nutraceutical industry, in particular, transparency has lost some of its shine because it has been and continues to be used indiscriminately as a marketing gimmick.
It is not uncommon for supplements companies, particularly those that champion transparency and jostle for top honors as the industry’s “transparency” leaders, to engage in practices that have the unintended consequence of diluting and diminishing its value. Among others, these practices include listing “magnesium stearate” as “vegetable lubricant,” using vague, potentially misleading jargon to describe products, and citing somewhat dubious reasons to justify not sharing objective evidence of product quality. Such selective, self-serving disclosures not only go against the spirit and intent of transparency as consumers expect it, but they do little to increase confidence or build trust.
Consumers deserve more than what companies are willing to share with them. They deserve to know who we are, what we believe in and stand for, where we’ve been, and where we are headed. They deserve openness and honesty about not only what we do well, but also where we need to improve. They deserve "authentic" transparency in ways that can cut through skepticism, remove doubt, and strength trust.
At NutriGold, we believe that authentic transparency is caring about customers enough to tell them the truth and trusting them enough to know that they will understand and respect us for it. It is respecting consumers’ right to see who we really are and hold us accountable for the things we say and do. It is the willingness to admit mistakes and acknowledge failures even if there is an inherent risk that such disclosures will make us vulnerable. In fact, we want customers to feel comfortable seeking our counsel when making a purchasing decision because they know us and trust that we will prioritize and protect their interests above all else. We want them to know that we are in this business for them. And that everything we do, including practicing authentic transparency, is powered by integrity and guided by a genuine desire to improve and nourish their health and the health of loved ones.
Our uncompromising commitment to authentic transparency is reflected in the accurate and ethical disclosures about active and inactive ingredients on product labels, clear descriptions of terms used to highlight product features and quality attributes, education initiatives to empower consumers to make informed purchasing decisions, and the willingness to share product Certificates of Analysis, which summarize results of all the third-party testing we perform to validate product claims, upon request. As the saying by Mother Teresa goes, “Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.”
Transparency in Labeling
When it comes to supplements, the problem for consumers is not that there are too many or too few choices. The problem is that consumers cannot make an informed choice because they don’t have access to the necessary information, like knowing where the ingredients came from, what’s actually in the product, or what the claims on the label really mean. While the FDA provides guidelines for what information must be made available on the label (e.g. brand name, product name, bottle count, ingredients list, etc.) and goes so far as to even offer prescriptions for font sizes and line spacing, it does not go far enough to regulate the marketing claims on labels that actually influence purchasing decisions.
Let’s take the case of multivitamins. There are literally hundreds of multivitamin products available to choose from and no two are exactly alike. While some are just synthetic vitamins, others are synthetic vitamins cultured in yeast. While some are whole food vitamins from actual foods, others are synthetic or cultured vitamins blended with foods, but labeled and marketed as “whole” foods. And that’s not even taking into account the hundreds of possible combinations made possible by the inclusion of “value-added” ingredients like probiotics, enzymes, superfoods, and specialty ingredients.
In theory, consumers could make an informed decision by comparing across different multivitamin products on the quality of their ingredients, including their source and composition. However, the requirement to provide that information is enforced inconsistently across synthetic and whole food vitamins, which makes comparisons difficult. For example, while the FDA requires companies to list the source or starting material if the vitamin is from [whole] foods, the same does not apply to vitamins that are synthesized using chemicals in a lab. Comparisons across brands and products is further complicated by variations in the information required to be declared on product labels.
The failure to disclose, voluntarily or otherwise, the source of synthetic nutrients on multivitamin labels is, however, only part of the problem. The other part is the lack of consensus and clarity on the terms used on product labels to actually market them—whole food, real food, raw food, food-created, food state, cultured, fermented, active food, and raw code, among others. While some companies use the term “whole food” to describe nutrients concentrated from actual foods, others use it to describe synthetic vitamins fermented in yeast. Still others use the term to describe synthetic vitamins blended with food powders.
This glaring lack of transparency in labeling isn’t just limited to multivitamins; the problem extends to other nutraceutical products as well. Herbal products are marketed as whole powders, full-spectrum powders, standardized extracts, extract ratios, full-spectrum standardized extracts, or high potency extract, and fish oil products are marketed as ultra, ultimate, premium, and pharmaceutical grade. Using these claims to market products would be fine as long as companies and consumers are aligned with respect to what they mean, but that is, sadly, not the case at all.
Despite awareness of the fundamental disconnect between companies’ use of these highly subjective terms and consumers’ understanding of them, there has been little effort within the industry to address or resolve the disconnect. Industry trade organizations, industry media, and consumer watchdogs like the FDA or FTC all appear to be content to simply watch from the sidelines as as companies compete with each other to come up with disingenuous ways to confuse the consumer into making purchasing decisions that are based on incorrect, incomplete, or, in extreme cases, blatantly false information.
It’s simple—consumers have a right to know what’s in the products intended to support good health. It should not be up to the FDA or individual companies with vested interests to decide what information is relevant or important to consumers when making a purchasing decision. It shouldn’t matter whether or not the FDA thinks such declarations are necessary. Transparency in labeling is not just about regulatory compliance, it’s about doing what’s in the consumers’ best interests. It is about informed choice. About ethics. About integrity. And prioritizing people over profits.
At NutriGold, we understand that trying to make a purchasing decision, especially one that impacts health, can be overwhelming under the best of circumstances. The last thing any of us needs is to have to expend time we don’t have and energy we can’t spare trying to figure out what’s what. So, we have put together definitions of the specific terms we use to describe our ingredients and products. We want to be clear about what we mean when we use words like full-spectrum or whole food to describe our products. And we want our customers to be clear as well. It’s all part of our commitment to authentic transparency and and our efforts to educate consumers to make informed purchasing decisions.
Thanks to an incredibly complex, global supply chain and the creative minds that come up with disingenuous ways to market the products we consume, it has become next to impossible to figure out what exactly is in the foods and supplements we take to support our health and wellness goals. Take the case of a beloved comfort food—pasta. It is reasonable to assume that if you buy pasta from a grocery store, you’ll be eating, well, pasta. But, that’s actually not the case.
Instead, the box of ravioli may contain a potentially harmful, and hard-to-pronounce, additive called azodicarbonamide, an additive that is used to bleach wheat. Wheat naturally whitens on its own over time, but the process takes too long. So, many brands choose to hurry it along with dangerous chemicals. Bon appétit!
Companies that use additives like these are quick to assure consumers that they are safe in low doses. But who is to decide how low is low enough? If you develop an illness 20 years down the road, who’s to say it wasn’t because of the azodicar-expialidocious? The effects of many of the ingredients and processing aids that currently dominate our food supply-chain are either not known or not fully understood. But they continue to be used because there is no clear, unequivocal evidence that they can harm human health.
The supplement industry is no exception. A 2013 research at the University of Guelph in Ontario found that, of the 12 brands tested, 7 companies’ products contained unlabeled ingredients and products from the 3 brands didn’t contain the labeled ingredient at all. While the decision to sacrifice consumer safety for manufacturing expediency reflects poorly on product quality, the decision to not list these additives reflects poorly on the company’s commitment to authentic transparency.
Dietary supplement manufacturers have a number of tools at their disposal to boost manufacturing efficiency and productivity, often at the expense of consumers. At NutriGold, even though we have the option to prioritize profitability over people, we consciously choose not to exercise that option. Why? It all comes down to one word: integrity. NutriGold was founded to protect people from the very practices that put them at risk.
If NutriGold were founded simply as a supplements company, we’d be a very different company. But that’s not what NutriGold is about. We are a consumer-centric, wellness company. We believe in whole food nutrition, earth-friendly practices, and consumer education and empowerment. We want consumers to rely on organic, nutrient-dense foods as their primary source of nourishment when possible, and use supplements only as needed to meet nutrient gaps. We’re not in business for ourselves. We’re in business for you. What kind of company works like that? A company founded for people, not for profit.
Third-party Test Reports and Certificates of Analysis
Purchasing decisions related to dietary supplements take into account a number of factors including what’s in it, what’s not, how it is packaged, and whether it is affordable or provides value for the price. But, other the claims that are on the label, some of which can be unclear, how can consumers be sure that what’s on the label is actually in the bottle? And where can they get evidence in support of those label claims?
Regardless of whether companies perform in-house testing or contract the testing out to third-party labs, every lot of product that is manufactured usually has an associated Certificate of Analysis (C of A). A Certificate of Analysis is a document that provides assurance that a product authorized for distribution meets its specifications for identity, purity, strength, and composition. Labs use the term, Certificate of Analysis, to describe reports of results they perform on products on behalf of companies. Companies use the term to describe the document that provides a summary of all of the testing that is performed on the product to ensure compliance with predetermined quality specifications.
At NutriGold, we work with multiple labs to evaluate the quality of our raw materials and finished products. So, for any given product, we may have test results from as many as 4 or 5 different labs, depending on what needs to be tested, what methods have to be used, and which lab is most qualified to perform the testing. We take the results of testing from different labs and prepare a Certificate of Analysis that summarizes all of the results on a single quality assurance document. It is this document that we make available to consumers upon request as reassurance that the product contains what is claimed on the label.
We believe that consumers have the right to hold companies accountable for label claims, and that companies, in return, are professionally, morally, and ethically obligated to make this information available and accessible upon request. Contrary to the claims propagated by many brands, neither the FDA nor any other regulatory body restricts companies from sharing certificates of analysis with consumers. And consumers would do well to be skeptical of any brand that refuses to make a product C of A available to consumers, no matter the reason.
As part of our commitment to accountability and authentic transparency, we have provided the Certificates of Analysis for our products, which include detailed information on what we test for, which methods were used to test them, and the actual lot-specific results.