Products were selected to represent those commonly sold and/or available nationally in the U.S. ConsumerLab.com purchased products on the open market through retail stores, on-line retailers, and direct sales or multi-level marketing companies. Products were not accepted directly from manufacturers.
Acai products were tested for their potential contamination with arsenic, cadmium, lead, chlorinated pesticides and undeclared stimulants. Analyses for the heavy metals arsenic, cadmium and lead were made using Inductively Coupled Plasma/Mass Spectroscopy (ICP/MS).
Analysis for specific chlorinated pesticides listed in Appendix A (General Pesticides) was performed using a modified FDA-PAM method with GPC clean up prior to analysis with High Resolution Gas Chromatography (HRGC) with an electron capture detector (ECD) and High Resolution Gas Chromatography (HRGC) with mass spectroscopy/mass spectroscopy (MS/MS) detection.
The products were screened for stimulants and related compounds (see Appendix B) by Gas Chromatography. Confirmation of any detected stimulant substances was made by GC-mass spectroscopy. Products found to contain caffeine were quantitatively analyzed for xanthine alkaloids (caffeine, theophylline and theobromine) by HPLC.
Disintegration of non-chewable, non-capsule, non-enteric coated and non-time-release formulations were analyzed utilizing USP (United States Pharmacopeia) recommendations entitled "Disintegration and Dissolution of Nutritional Supplements."
Any product that did not pass the testing was sent to another independent laboratory to repeat testing for at least one of the criteria on which it did not pass. The identities of the products were not disclosed to the laboratories performing the testing.
Quality Criteria: *
To meet ConsumerLab.com quality criteria, a product had to:
- Heavy Metal Contamination
- Meet the State of California's Prop 65 limits for lead in supplements: 0.5 mcg of lead per daily serving with an additional allowance of 1.0 mcg for supplements containing 1,000 mg/day or more of elemental calcium and 0.5 mcg for supplements containing specific other minerals. For supplements not marketed for use by children, ConsumerLab.com provides an additional allowance of 0.5 mcg if containing 250 to 499 mg/day of elemental calcium or 1.0 mcg if containing 500 to 999 mg/day of elemental calcium and an allowance of 0.5 mcg for if containing one whole herb (not extract) ingredient or 1.0 mcg for two or more whole herb ingredients.
- Contain less than 0.3 parts per million (or micrograms per gram of claimed acai berry or extract) of cadmium (World Health Organization proposed guidelines).
- Contain less than 10 micrograms of arsenic per daily serving (State of California).
- Pesticide Contamination: Concentration of any detectable chlorinated pesticide residue(s) must be less than the individual limit(s) listed in Appendix A calculated on a wt/wt basis.
- Stimulants: Contain 100% and no more than 120% of label claim for xanthine alkaloids (as caffeine, theophylline and theobromine). Contain no detectable amounts of undeclared stimulants in products not claiming to contain caffeine or xanthine-containing herbals, stimulants or related ingredients. (See Appendix B for list of stimulants tested.)
- Meet recommended USP parameters for disintegration for vitamin-mineral supplements (excluding capsule, enteric coated, chewable and time-release products).
- Be in compliance with FDA and relevant State labeling requirements.
* The analytical methods allow for specific margins of technical error associated with each analysis. ConsumerLab.com reserves the right to disqualify a product at any time from passing its testing if it considers such product to present a safety risk or to provide misleading or inaccurate information in its labeling.
Appendix A: Pesticides
Substance Limit (mg/kg, ppm)
Aldrin and Dieldrin (sum of) 0.05
and oxychlordane) 0.05
Cypermethrin (and isomers) 1.0
DDT (sum of p,p'-DDT, o,p'-DDT, p,p'-DDE and p,p'-TDE) 1.0
Dithiocarbamates (as CS2) 2.0
Endosulfan (sum of endosulfan isomers and endosulfan sulfate) 3.0
Heptachlor (sum of heptachlor and heptachlor epoxide) 0.05
Hexachlorocyclohexane isomers (other than gamma) 0.3
Lindane (gamma-hexachlorocyclohexane) 0.6
Piperonyl butoxide 3.0
Pyrethrins (sum of) 3.0
Quintozene (sum of quintozene, pentachloroanaline
and methylpentachlorophenyl sulfide) 1.0